July 11, 2005


Rove Comes Under New Scrutiny in C.I.A. Disclosure Case (DAVID STOUT, 7/11/05, NY Times)

The spotlight was focused on Mr. Rove over the weekend, when Newsweek reported on its Web site that Mr. Rove had spoken with at least one reporter about Ms. Plame's role at the C..I.A., although without identifying her by name, a few days before the columnist Robert D. Novak identified her in a column about her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Newsweek's weekend disclosure seemed, at the very least, to call into question Mr. Rove's own earlier statements, and the White House's, that he had nothing whatever to do with disclosing Ms. Plame's identity shortly after her husband wrote in a 2003 Op-Ed article in The New York Times that he had found no evidence that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger to further its nuclear ambitions.

As we've said all along, the whole thing appears to be a matter of the White House defending itself from the CIA, in which the attempt by nureaucrats to subvert the elected government has genuine constitional implications. And it's highly unlikely that the "leak" was illegal--it certainly wasn't unethical. However, the leaker is likely to have to resign, because of the politics, even if it's Karl Rove.

Lawyer: Cooper “Burned” Karl Rove: Rove’s attorney talks to NRO. (Byron York, 7/12/05, National Review)

According to a report in Newsweek, Cooper's e-mail to Time Washington bureau chief Michael Duffy said, "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper said that Rove had warned him away from getting "too far out on Wilson," and then passed on Rove's statement that neither Vice President Dick Cheney nor CIA Director George Tenet had picked Wilson for the trip; "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." Finally — all of this is according to the Newsweek report — Cooper's e-mail said that "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly that there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger..."

A few days after sending the e-mail, Cooper co-wrote an article headlined "A War on Wilson?" that appeared on Time's website. The story began, "Has the Bush administration declared war on a former ambassador who conducted a fact-finding mission to probe possible Iraqi interest in African uranium? Perhaps."

The story continued:

Some government officials have noted to Time in interviews (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. These officials have suggested that she was involved in her husband's being dispatched to Niger to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein's government had sought to purchase large quantities of uranium ore, sometimes referred to as yellow cake, which is used to build nuclear devices.

Plame's role in Wilson's assignment was later confirmed by a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation.

Luskin told NRO that the circumstances of Rove's conversation with Cooper undercut Time's suggestion of a White House "war on Wilson.",/blockquote>

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 11, 2005 11:07 PM

Unless, of course, the result of the investigation is no harm, no foul--in which case the only person to see the inside of a jail from this will be Judith Miller, and the legacy media will come up mad as hell but with no scalp to show for it.

Have a little faith, OJ...

Posted by: Anthony Perez-Miller at July 11, 2005 11:13 PM

Rove (apparently) didn't commit a crime, has cooperated freely with the investigation, and the new evidence doesn't paint any type of Rovian conspiracy and he has to resign?

Supporting RINOS to keep control of the Senate is one thing, throwing a man overboard because the NYTimes wants you to is another.

Posted by: AWW at July 11, 2005 11:16 PM

There does appear to be a question of whether he lied to the president. If so, he's got to go.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 11, 2005 11:23 PM

"[H]er husband wrote in a 2003 Op-Ed article in The New York Times that he had found no evidence that Iraq was trying to acquire uranium from Niger to further its nuclear ambitions."

He lied. His own report said the exact opposite, and he was exposed as a fraud before Congress. It'd be nice if the media were competent enough to report the facts...

Posted by: b at July 11, 2005 11:28 PM


The facts don't matter--it's just politics.

Posted by: oj at July 11, 2005 11:32 PM

The key distinction is between a CIA employee (full set) and a CIA "operative" (subset). Rove told Cooper that Wilson's wife was a CIA employee. Everybody in the DC media cocktail circuit already knew that. Wilson had even included that fact in his own published bio.

It remains unclear whether and, if so, when she had ever been an operative.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2005 11:33 PM

oj -

It will certainly matter if Wilson and/or Plame is indicted.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 11, 2005 11:40 PM


No, it won't. The President said that if anyone on his team was involved they'd be gone.

Posted by: oj at July 11, 2005 11:44 PM

"Was involved" or "was involved in outing an operative"? If the former, you're right. Otherwise, remember the advice of Kenny Roger's gambler.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 12, 2005 12:04 AM

Response to media frenzy: throw someone overboard, even if they are completely innocent. It's thesort of thinking that makes the Stupid Party what they are.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 12, 2005 12:38 AM

Chief Justice Rove has a nice ring to it.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 12, 2005 1:33 AM

If Rove lied to the President, then of course he goes now. If Rove was merely silent on the subject and did not indicate to the President the extent of all his conversations to the press, then he has to go now.

If Rove told the President everything, and told the investigators everything, and there is no underlying crime, then the President and Rove must decide if the President is hurt politically and if they decide that he is then Rove must resign.

Posted by: h-man at July 12, 2005 7:21 AM

Rove may have indeed lied to the president in which case he must go even if he didn't commit a crime. But you have to think the WH already discussed all this months ago when the story first broke. It still seems like shoddy reporting and/or guesswork at who the target really is causing confusion. Bottom line - I can't believe Miller went to jail to protect Rove.

This seems very similar to a few months ago when Tom Delay was charged with improprieties and there was a full scream from Dean, Pelosi and our beloved OJ for Delay to go. Now that whole issue has died off as it was much ado about nothing.

Posted by: AWW at July 12, 2005 8:07 AM

DeLay is an elected official. Rove is a creature of the President. When he's doing more harm than good he's obligated to fall on his sword.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2005 9:57 AM


Love your site, but must take issue with what I think is your overquick instinct to hand Rove his hat.

Other than George Bush himself, Rove is perhaps the single person most responsible for this Presidency and the GOP's continued consilidation of power at the federal level. According to my calculus, Rove could out the entire CIA and he would still sit comfortably on the "more good than harm" side of the ledger.

Remember, the Democrats no longer have the Independent Counsel law to club Republican administrations (thank you so very, very much, Mr. Clinton). And with the advent of weblogs, talk radio and other alternative media, the public gets more than just the MSM/Dem side of things.

Wait a bit. Once the President names a conservative or two or three to the SC, there won't be room enough on a front page to even fit the words "Karl Rove."

We're winning. Just keep fighting.

Posted by: jsk at July 12, 2005 11:04 AM

He has nothing to fear from the legal end, but the President's past comments set a standard that Rove hadn't met. Let him go start up the McCain/Jeb '08 campaign.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2005 11:10 AM

Rove may need to leave, but the media needs even a bigger smack to the face. David Gregory's petulance in the press room yesterday was inexcusable. Disrespect and hatred are over the line for any 'journalist', aren't they?

And Gregory should certainly be aware that Joe Wilson lied in his op-ed, so why not ask him about that? Isn't that as objectionable as anything Rove (or Colin Powell, or George Tenet) may have done?

After all, Wilson and his blonde op are more responsible for Judy Miller being in lock-up than anyone in the administration.

This story is going to be one of the great political myths - which is a good reason why Rove should stay. Don't let the press write the myth (this time).

The real story here is what Patrick Fitzgerald is doing. The media doesn't care, but when (if) Wilson and blonde are indicted, that will change. BTW, someone should ask John F. Kerry why his foreign policy team included Joe Wilson and Sandy Berger.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 12, 2005 11:30 AM

I could accuse the NYTimes of going on a partisan rampage, but why is this night different than all other nights?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 12, 2005 12:52 PM

Keep hiding your heads in the sand, Rove/Bush worshippers. You shouldn't care so much that Rove lied to the president, but that he lied to the entire country. All of us. Me and YOU!

Posted by: Anarchist at July 12, 2005 2:21 PM

Valerie Palme isn't CIA?

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2005 2:26 PM

Joe Wilson isn't a bunghole?

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 12, 2005 2:38 PM

That's the left all over: never taking "yes" for an answer.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 12, 2005 7:28 PM

This is a bad one and it makes me very uncomfortable. One of the essential values we stand for is patriotism. "Outing" a CIA agent and blowing the cover of the front company hardly seems patriotic. Another value we stand for is trust. Bush made powerful statements about the consequences for any White House staff that were involved. I don't see how he can back down and I can't see why he should.

Posted by: Mike Standard at July 12, 2005 8:11 PM

Any cover she may have had was blown when her husband went on a public assignment for the agency, nevermind when she took a desk job at Langley. But the CIA was running an operation against the elected government surrounding a war they didn't want.

The last point is the nub--they said they'd can whoever was talking about her so they're stuck.

Posted by: oj at July 12, 2005 8:31 PM