Rove was the leak
Ironically, Rove was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Influence is an understatement, isn’t it?
It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. “Subject: Rove/P&C;,” (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. “Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation …” Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, “please don’t source this to rove or even WH [White House]” and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.
…NEWSWEEK obtained a copy of the e-mail that Cooper sent his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (The e-mail was authenticated by a source intimately familiar with Time’s editorial handling of the Wilson story, but who has asked not to be identified because of the magazine’s corporate decision not to disclose its contents.) Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a “big warning” not to “get too far out on Wilson.” Rove told Cooper that Wilson’s trip had not been authorized by “DCIA”—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, “it was, KR said, wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.” Wilson’s wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division.
Shake Sis rants, “How much more of this shit are the American people going to swallow before they demand that the entire lot of criminals running the joint are roughly escorted out the fucking door?” Damned if I know, but what I do I know is that the sheeple have been well-trained to swallow anything that comes out of the administration (and like it).
David Corn also comments on the implications of Rove’s “outing.”
The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine’s Matt Cooper and that Rove–prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official–told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson’s now-controversial trip to Niger.
To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it’s only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I’m told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove–despite his lawyers claim that Rove “did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA”–did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson’s wife was in the CIA. No wonder special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursued Cooper so fiercely. And Fitzgerald must have been delighted when Time magazine–over Cooper’s objection–surrendered Cooper’s emails and notes, which, according to a previous Newsweek posting by Michael Isikoff, named Rove as Cooper’s source. In court on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said that following his receipt of Cooper’s emails and notes “it is clear to us we need [Cooper’s] testimony perhaps more so than in the past.” This was a clue that Fitzgerald had scored big when he obtained the Cooper material.
This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should). If what I am told is true, this is proof that the Bush White House was using any information it could gather on Joseph Wilson–even classified information related to national security–to pursue a vendetta against Wilson, a White House critic. Even if it turns out Rove did not break the law regarding the naming of intelligence officials, this new disclosure could prove Rove guilty of leaking a national security secret to a reporter for political ends. What would George W. Bush do about that?
…Bush issued a straightforward statement about the Plame/CIA leak:
There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. If there’s leaks out of my administration, I want to know who it is, and if the person has violated the law, the person will be taken care of.
Perhaps Bush won’t have to “take care of” Rove if this new evidence does not lead to a prosecutable violation of the law. But Bush also called on any government official with knowledge of the leak to “come forward and speak out.” Has Rove done so? No. So it seems he violated a presidential command. Would Bush be obliged to fire him for insubordination?