In Dicta

Monday, July 11, 2005

Karl Rove was the Valerie Plame leaker

So it turns out Rove did leak the name. Except he didn't.

"For two years, a federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, has been investigating the leak of Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent. The leak was first reported by columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. Novak apparently made some arrangement with the prosecutor, but Fitzgerald continued to press other reporters for their sources, possibly to show a pattern (to prove intent) or to make a perjury case. (It is illegal to knowingly identify an undercover CIA officer.) Rove's words on the Plame case have always been carefully chosen. "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," Rove told CNN last year when asked if he had anything to do with the Plame leak. Rove has never publicly acknowledged talking to any reporter about former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. But last week, his lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed to NEWSWEEK that Rove did—and that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper's lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify."

That is technically correct, since he didn't say her name, just that "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."

Maybe he didn't actually utter her "name," but this seems to be "Clinton-esque" splitting of hairs ("that depends on what the meaning of "is" is"). And remember how Republicans hung Clinton out to dry for this lawyerly hair-splitting? Will they do the same to Karl Rove? I doubt it, though he deserves it.

Via Newsweek.

The Washington Post notes that: "To be considered a violation of the law, 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 government was actively concealing the covert agent's identity."

Also, note the White House's official reaction: "White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to discuss the matter at two news briefings Monday. He said he would not comment because the leak is the focus of a federal criminal investigation.

"The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium," McClellan said in response to a barrage of questions about Rove and the previous White House denials.

"I'm well aware, like you, of what was previously said," McClellan said. "And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time." He said the appropriate time would be when the investigation is completed.

Also note:"For the better part of two years, the word coming out of the Bush White House was that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a female CIA officer's identity and that whoever did would be fired.

But White House press secretary Scott McClellan would not repeat those claims Monday in the face of Rove's own lawyer, Robert Luskin, acknowledging his client spoke to Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, one of the reporters who disclosed Valerie Plame's name." (Via CNN).

Read the (incredible) transcript here.

Recall, the White House previously labelled as "ridiculous" (or something like that) any notion that Karl Rove was the leaker.

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