Friday, November 04, 2005

Novak, Rove, and sources

There are several weird things going on lately in the Plame leak thing. The NYT has an interesting story on prosecutors focusing on the Karl Rove-Matthew Cooper conversations (Remember that Rove is a "very busy man" who conveniently forgets conversations and withholds incriminating emails). But the most interesting part of the story, I thought, was the near-preposterous assertion that Rove said he learned the identity of Valerie Plame from none other than Robert Novak himself.
It is now known that Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury have questioned Mr. Rove about two conversations with reporters. The first, which he admitted to investigators from the outset, took place on July 9, 2003, in a telephone call initiated by Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist. In a column about Mr. Wilson's trip four days after the call to Mr. Rove, Mr. Novak disclosed the identity of Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, a C.I.A. intelligence officer who was said by Mr. Novak to have had a role in arranging her husband's trip. Mr. Novak identified her as Valerie Plame, Ms. Wilson's maiden name.

In was in that conversation that Mr. Rove first learned the name of the C.I.A. officer from Mr. Novak, according to lawyers in the case. Mr. Rove testified that up until then he had heard only fragmentary information about her from reporters, the lawyers said.

Obviously, the "lawyers" include Ronald Luskin, Rove's attorney, and a man who it has been demonstrated, lies repeatedly to cover for his client. It seems pretty clear that Fitzgerald does not at all believe the "I heard it from Novak" crap -- it is the same defense Libby tried to employ (coordination, hm?).

Meanwhile, USA Today has another story that contradicts the Times piece:

Novak's role in the “outing” of Plame remains a fascinating part of a complicated story because it was his July 14, 2003, column that disclosed her identity. Novak wrote that he had been told that Plame was an “operative” at the agency by “two senior administration officials,” neither of whom he named. Novak has said the original source was “not a partisan gunslinger,” and he said the second source merely confirmed what the first had said. That second source, according to a person with knowledge of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's testimony to the grand jury, was Rove. Rove spoke with at least one other reporter about Plame: Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper has written that he discussed Plame with Rove in July 2003.

Somebody is lying. Bloomberg had this story earlier.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 9:34 AM

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