July 2, 2005


The Rove Factor?: Time magazine talked to Bush's guru for Plame story. (Michael Isikoff, 7/11/05, Newsweek)

The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House. Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove.

The controversy began three days before the Time piece appeared, when columnist Robert Novak, writing about Wilson's trip, reported that Wilson had been sent at the suggestion of his wife, who was identified by name as a CIA operative. The leak to Novak, apparently intended to discredit Wilson's mission, caused a furor when it turned out that Plame was an undercover agent. It is a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA official. A special prosecutor was appointed and began subpoenaing reporters to find the source of the leak.

Novak appears to have made some kind of arrangement with the special prosecutor, and other journalists who reported on the Plame story have talked to prosecutors with the permission of their sources. Cooper agreed to discuss his contact with Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, after Libby gave him permission to do so. But Cooper drew the line when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked about other sources.

Initially, Fitzgerald's focus was on Novak's sourcing, since Novak was the first to out Plame. But according to Luskin, Rove's lawyer, Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared. Luskin told NEWSWEEK that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He did say that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him. "He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told NEWSWEEK that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove. Fitzgerald declined to comment.

The only danger here was someone misrepresenting what was innocent behavior--it would seem Mr. Rove, at least, was smart enough not to. That's a rarity in Washington "scandals".

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 2, 2005 4:24 PM

I hope Rove tapes conversations with reporters. Why any Republican talks to them, I don't know.

Posted by: erp at July 2, 2005 11:18 PM

To OJ's point I thought this thing was dead and buried. And now it is going to bring down Rove? I find that hard to believe.

Posted by: AWW at July 2, 2005 11:21 PM


To use them.

Posted by: oj at July 2, 2005 11:23 PM

Where are the really important stories? Like Rove being the other gunman on the grassy knoll, or his being responsible for global warming.

Inquiring minds would like to know the answers to these pressing queries.

Posted by: obc at July 2, 2005 11:48 PM

There is no way Time would go to the mat to protect Karl Rove as a source. At the slightest hint of heat they would have given his name up faster than a hooker naming her john.

Given the MSM's extreme reluctance to reveal the source I'm guessing it was Wilson himself.

Posted by: Gideon at July 2, 2005 11:54 PM

It's worse than that -- you'd also have to assume that not only Time magazine was protecting Rove, but also the New York Times -- that's the we're-not-exactly-in-George-W.-Bush's-corner New York Times -- was carrying water for Karl and keeping his identity secret (Unless you want to believe was anothre person in the White House who released the Plame information to the Times at the same time Rove gave it to Time, and neither publication opted to do anything with it until after Novak's column ran).

Posted by: John at July 3, 2005 12:25 AM

In a better country, Plame and her CIA cohorts would be prosecuted for running their black-op against the duly-elected administration, Wilson would be publicly horse-whipped and Pinch would be disgraced for his bald-faced lying--what he's done at the Times is "document abuse".

But there is no better country.

Posted by: Noel at July 3, 2005 2:33 AM

oj, I hope you're right and this is an elaborate Rovian sting designed to put the fear of, if not God, at least prison, into the worst of the media and perhaps also put an abrupt end to their use of anonymous sources.

What fun to think of these two pomposities in a DC prison. I don't think either of them will serve with the grace and dignity of Martha Stewart, but then she was in a "country club" prison, not one filled with the dregs of the very inner city drug society normally championed by their respective publications.

Posted by: erp at July 3, 2005 10:46 AM

it wasn't aimed at the media, just the Palmes, and it worked. The media is fortunate collateral damage.

Posted by: oj at July 3, 2005 10:55 AM

The Plames should be happy - they got their picture in Vanity Fair. And Joe was a policy advisor to John Kerry until the Senate intelligence committee said he was a liar.

Perhaps Valerie can do Playboy next.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 4, 2005 1:20 AM

Our Demoncratic "fellow citizens" are lifting high this supposed smoking gun and sharpening thdeir impeachment axes. Bastille Day is only 10 days away.

Posted by: Dave W. at July 4, 2005 11:17 PM