July 9, 2005


Mystery Thickens in Secret Source Case: After two years, more questions than answers have emerged on who named a CIA agent and the role the White House may have played. (Richard B. Schmitt, July 9, 2005, LA Times)

Nearly two years to the day after Robert Novak identified a CIA operative in his syndicated newspaper column, the mystery of who might have leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to Novak and other journalists seems only to be deepening.

The latest tantalizing clue involves Rove and a conversation he had with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in the days before the Novak column appeared.

The conversation was revealed last week by Rove's lawyer, who added that his client didn't identify Plame or do anything wrong. Nobody has said precisely what the two men discussed. But special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is apparently interested in questioning Cooper about the conversation before wrapping up his investigation.

Cooper narrowly avoided jail this week after saying that a source — thought to be Rove — had waived his pledge of confidentiality and that he was now free to testify before a grand jury investigating the leak.

The disclosure about the two men's conversation, combined with Fitzgerald's interest in Cooper's source, has prompted speculation about the identity and motives of the nation's most talked-about confidential source since "Deep Throat." [...]

Some people close to the case theorize that the identity of Plame was introduced to administration officials by journalists who might have known of her status and mentioned it in the kind of back-and-forth that is common in reporters' conversations with sources. Repeating such gossip, however unseemly, would probably not be illegal, legal experts say.

No matter how you slice it there's no crime involved.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 9, 2005 7:03 AM

The Plame Affair - Greatest mystery of all: Has a single ordinary citizen been identified who cares about this?

Posted by: erp at July 9, 2005 8:18 AM


All the Democrats and the Wilson-Plames.

Posted by: Genecis at July 9, 2005 8:26 AM

I usually only read Time at the dentist, but they finally have something that would make an interesting story, i.e. who Cooper's source is, and they withold that information. What a bunch of bores.

Posted by: carter at July 9, 2005 2:27 PM

"No matter how you slice it there's no crime involved."

Right. And don't forget: Black is white, up is down, slavery is freedom, and ignorance is power.

Posted by: lonbud at July 9, 2005 8:10 PM

And Karl Rove won't be charged with a crime.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2005 8:30 PM

No crime involved? We don't know yet. Frequently classified information is developed legally or even by lucky guess. The holder of classifed information must then neither confirm nor deny what has been independently developed.

One can find a scads of classified stuff in places like Janes's, or all over the internet, for that matter; that doesn't mean people with axccess to official versions can talk about it.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 9, 2005 11:36 PM


The law here requires the revealer to have known that the agent was covert at the time or had been within the last five years. Given that Ms Palme had a kid that old and was widely known to be CIA it's unlikely that the revealer had any reason to believe her to be covert and she indeed not have been. The revelation will not be charged, though various perjurioes and the like may be.

Posted by: oj at July 9, 2005 11:46 PM

The law also requires that CIA have been actively trying to maintain her cover. Novak called CIA and ran the story by them. They asked him not to publish, but never said that they were trying to maintain Plame's secret identity.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 11, 2005 7:43 PM
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