News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Karl Rove and the Valerie Plame Leak

Newsweek's latest weekly feature of the Karl Rove and Valerie Plame story is up. This time it’s a bit more interesting than last week's breathless Larry O'Donnell promise of the "It's Rove" revelation.

Newsweek reports that Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper sent an e-mail at 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003 to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy.
Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential)
"Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to [R]ove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.
Cooper is free from jail as he turned over this e-mail [and others] and has agreed to testify in the Valerie Plame case and disclose his source to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Cooper's source gave him permission to testify.

So is Rove ready to be "frog marched" out of the White House as Bush-hater and Valerie Plame's hubby Joe Wilson has fantasized about?
David Corn warns the Bush haters to be cautious:

To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it's only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I'm told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove -- despite his lawyers claim that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA" -- did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson's wife was in the CIA.


Valerie Plame's name first appeared in a July 14, 2003, syndicated column by Robert Novak. But that column was written before July 11th, and was distributed by Creators Syndicate over the Associated Press wire on July 11th. [It appears that Rove spoke to Cooper sometime in the morning on July 11th.] The column is also e-mailed to those publications that syndicate the column.

Novak was chasing the story as early as July 7 according to the transcript of "CNN WOLF BLITZER REPORTS"

ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Former Ambassador Wilson broke the secrecy that a retired diplomat, unknown, had gone to Niger in the year 2002 to investigate whether the Iraqis tried to buy yellow cake, uranium from Niger.

BLITZER: You mean when he wrote that op-ed page article in "The New York Times"?

NOVAK: "New York Times." That was on a Sunday morning.

On Monday, [July 7] I began to report on something that I thought was very curious. Why was it that Ambassador Wilson, who had no particular experience in weapons of mass destruction, and was a sharp critic of the Iraqi policy of President Bush and, also, had been a high-ranking official in the Clinton White House, who had contributed politically to Democrats -- some Republicans, but mostly Democrats -- why was he being selected?

I asked this question to a senior Bush administration official, and he said that he believed that the assignment was suggested by an employee at the CIA in the Counterproliferation Office who happened to be ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.

I then called another senior official of the Bush administration, and he said, Oh, you know about that? And he confirmed that that was an accurate story. I then called the CIA. They said that, to their knowledge, he did not -- that the mission was not suggested by Ambassador Wilson's wife, but that she had been asked by her colleagues in the Counterproliferation Office, to contact her husband. So she was involved.

BLITZER: Because he was a former ambassador in Gabon, he knew that part of Africa, and that's, presumably, why they wanted to send him on this mission.

NOVAK: I'm not going into motives. I thought it was strange because he is not an expert in counterproliferation. He had not been ambassador to Niger, he had served in Niger at one time.
BLITZER: But he was a senior on African affairs at the NFC under Clinton?
NOVAK: Under Clinton, that's correct.

So that was the story I wrote, was about the details of Ambassador Wilson's mission, which created a great storm. And in the sixth paragraph of a ten-paragraph story I mentioned that two senior administration officials had said it was suggested by his wife, who worked at the CIA.

Intelligence Identities Protection Act

Also take note: To constitute a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a disclosure by a government official must have been deliberate, the person doing it must have known that the CIA officer was a covert agent, and he or she must have known that "the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States.

Karl Rove may not be in legal trouble, but there's no question this will get very interesting soon.
--By CK Rairden


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