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

Friday, August 05, 2005

CBS News | Poll: Country Divided Over Iraq | August 3, 2005�20:59:19

Americans are skeptical about the Bush administration's behavior and public statements about the 2003 leak of the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters. Only 12 percent think the Bush administration is telling the entire truth about the matter; more than half –- 55 percent -- think the administration is mostly telling the truth but hiding something, and another 22 percent think it is lying.


Telling entire truth - All


Hiding something - All


Mostly lying - All


Many Republicans doubt the administration is telling all it knows to the public. Fifty-seven percent of Republicans think the administration is hiding something or lying -- although 28 percent think it is telling the entire truth. Democrats are much more skeptical.

In previous polls, a majority of the public also felt the Bush administration was withholding information about the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal and the Enron collapse.

As for responsibility for the leak, just over half of Americans think it was someone in the Bush administration. Twenty-one percent think it was not someone in the administration. However, about a quarter don't know.


Yes – All


Yes – Reps.


Yes – Dems


No – All


No – Reps.


No – Dems


Don't know – All


Don't know – Reps.


Don't know – Dems


Once again, views on this are highly partisan. Twenty-nine percent of Republicans think the Bush administration was responsible for the leak, compared to 64 percent of Democrats.

Twenty-nine percent of Americans think the leak was part of a wider effort by the Bush administration to discredit its critics. Eighteen percent think the leak was an isolated incident or mistake.

On this question as well, Democrats are more apt to view the administration's activities in a negative light.

Independents look similar to Democrats, with one-third of them saying the leak was part of a wider effort, but one-fourth also don't know if the administration leaked the name or not.

Over half of Americans say they have heard or read at least some about this issue. Those who have heard or read a lot about the matter are more apt to think the administration was involved, and to view the administration's actions as part of a larger effort. Democrats (19 percent) are about as likely as Republicans (17 percent) to have heard or read a lot about the issue. Men are more apt than women to have heard a lot, as are those over age 45 and those with more education.


A lot




Undecided/haven't heard


Rove has said that he spoke with reporters about Valerie Plame but that he did not refer to her by name. The public is not sure whether Rove's actions broke any laws. Nearly four in 10 Americans believe Rove did something either unethical or illegal in the Plame case –- with most of those saying his actions were unethical, not illegal. Twenty-seven percent think he did nothing wrong, while 34 percent aren't sure.






Both (vol.)


Did nothing wrong


Don't know


Again, there are partisan differences; 42 percent of Republicans think Rove did nothing wrong, compared to just 16 percent of Democrats.

The Raw Story | Democrats pile it on Novak, 'Can't stand the heat: That's bullshit'

If You Can't Stand The Heat...That's Bull*t!" blares a Democratic National Committee release issued Friday. Conservative columnist Robert Novak quit a CNN program live yesterday before taking questions about his role in the outing of a CIA operative, saying, 'that's bullshit.'

"Apparently, Robert Novak was afraid to answer questions in an open forum or perhaps he had to meet with his lawyer,” DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said in the release. “Either way, he needs to come clean about his conversations with Karl Rove, ‘Scooter’ Libby, and any other Administration officials, and help get to the bottom of this breach of national security."

Here are "The Questions Bob Novak Thought Were Bull*t," according to the DNC.

Question 1: During his last appearance on CNN, why did Novak lie to CNN Anchor Candy Crowley when asked if he had ever spoken to Karl Rove on the record?

Novak Says He Never Talked To Rove on the Record - But He Did. In an interview with Candy Crowley, Novak was asked whether he ever told Karl Rove about Valerie Plame's status as a CIA agent. He replied, "I can't tell anything I ever talked to Karl Rove about, because I don't think I ever talked to him about any subject even the time of day, on the record." But he has printed on the record quotes from Rove in at least two op-ed pieces - one on the Iowa caucuses, and the other on judicial nominations. [CNN, 7/26/05; The New York Post, 5/3/99, 6/18/99]

Question 2: If Novak had high ranking CIA officials telling him that his story was not true and should not be printed, who was powerful enough to convince Novak to print it any way? Did Novak tell his administration sources of his conversation with Harlow? We already know that Novak talked to Rove, who else did he talk to?

Novak Says No One Told Him That He Shouldn't Reveal Plame's Identity - But He Was Warned. Novak stated that that no CIA official ever told him in advance "that Valerie Plame Wilson's disclosure would endanger her or anybody else. But Bill Harlow, a former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed. [Washington Post, 7/27/05]

Question 3: Why has Novak cited his lawyers advice for so long in order to avoid answering questions, only to write an op-ed selectively releasing new information?

Novak Refused To Comment On Plame Leak Except To Benefit Himself, Or To Convince Random People on the Street. Novak has repeatedly stated that he cannot comment on the leak of Valerie Plame's name because he was following the advice of his attorneys. However, he recently wrote a column explaining some of his actions, in order to protect his "integrity as a journalist." In addition, news reports indicate that he was willing to comment to strangers about the CIA agent's identity. Joe Wilson said in a recent interview that he had known that Novak was interested in him a week or so before the column appeared because a friend who saw Novak on the street reported that Novak told him, "Wilson is an asshole and his wife works for the CIA." [Houston Chronicle, 7/31/05; Los Angeles Times, 7/18/05]

Question 4: Which one is it, Mr. Novak? Did you read it in a book? Or did you hear it from the Administration?

Novak Changes His Story on How He Got Plame's Name. Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. 'I didn't dig it out, it was given to me,' he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." But he then suggested in an op-ed that he got it from the book Who's Who in America, saying that "Once it was determined that Wilson's wife suggested the mission, she could be identified as 'Valerie Plame' by reading her husband's entry in 'Who's Who in America.'" [Newsday, 7/22/2003; Houston Chronicle, 7/31/05]

Bradenton Herald | Rove assistant appears before grand jury


Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON - A top assistant to White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove appeared last week before the federal grand jury investigating possible criminal wrongdoing by the Bush administration in the exposing of a CIA operative, a person familiar with the case said Tuesday.

The interest in Susan Ralston, Rove's longtime executive assistant, was unclear; but it comes as special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has been focusing on differences in witness statements made to federal agents and the grand jury investigating who revealed the identity of Valerie Plame.

Ralston's appearance Friday followed grand-jury testimony last month by Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, who recounted a conversation he had with Rove in July 2003 in which Rove alluded to Plame without mentioning her by name. Cooper and columnist Robert Novak subsequently wrote stories identifying Plame after talking with administration officials.

It can be a violation of federal law to disclose the name of a covert CIA agent. Some people close to the case have said they believe Fitzgerald has begun focusing on whether other laws may have been broken, such as perjury, obstruction of justice or making "misstatements" to investigators.

Cooper's version of his conversation with Rove differed from the version Rove has offered investigators. Some people close to the case said Fitzgerald apparently was seeking to resolve the differences in the two stories.

A person familiar with Cooper's testimony said Ralston's name did not come up during the reporter's grand-jury appearance. That indicates Fitzgerald may be interested in her testimony for other reasons.

Ralston could not be reached for comment.

The prosecutor earlier said in court papers that his investigation essentially was complete as of last October except for the testimony of Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Miller was jailed four weeks ago for refusing to cooperate and remains incarcerated. Fitzgerald, who has been leading the investigation since December 2003, has not indicated when he intends to be done. The grand jury that has been hearing testimony is set to expire in October, although it could be renewed.