Friday, December 02, 2005

Did a reporter tip Rove to help change testimony?

That's what the NYT seems to be saying. This is getting interesting:

Months before the conversation between [Viveca] Novak and Mr. Luskin, Mr. Rove testified to the grand jury that he had held a conversation about the C.I.A. officer with only one journalist, Robert D. Novak, the syndicated columnist. Mr. Rove did not disclose that he had also spoken to Mr. Cooper either in his first grand jury testimony, in February 2004, or in an earlier interview with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But after his conversation with Ms. Novak, who is not related to the columnist, Mr. Luskin asked Mr. Rove to have the White House search for any record of a discussion between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper around the time that Ms. Wilson's identity became public in July 2003.

The search turned up an e-mail message from Mr. Rove to another senior White House official, Stephen J. Hadley, who was the deputy national security adviser, that recounted a conversation between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper. On Oct. 14, 2004, Mr. Rove went before the grand jury again to alter his earlier account, by saying he had also discussed the C.I.A. officer with Mr. Cooper.


Mr. Fitzgerald appears to be evaluating whether Mr. Rove came forward with the e-mail [regarding his conversation with Matthew Cooper] and his new testimony only after it became apparent that Mr. Cooper might be compelled to testify about it. It is not clear precisely what Ms. Novak told Mr. Luskin, or what the context for their conversation had been.

People involved in the case said that at a minimum Ms. Novak communicated to Mr. Luskin that Mr. Rove might face legal problems because of potential testimony from Mr. Cooper, her colleague. They said Ms. Novak had told Mr. Luskin that Mr. Cooper might have been in contact with Mr. Rove about Ms. Wilson in the days before her identity became public. Mr. Cooper helped write an article on Time's Web site in July 2003 that was among the first, after Mr. Novak's column, to divulge Ms. Wilson's identity, using her maiden name, Valerie Plame.

In other words, Rove knew about the possibility of Cooper's coming forward because Viveca Novak told him (and she, remember, is a Rove "friend"), and seemingly only changed his testimony when he was tipped that he might face legal jeopardy with the coming testimony. He knew he was caught. It sure seems like Rove is remembering things at convenient moments.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 8:47 AM

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