Talking point: Karl's balls are in a vise
That was a paraphrase of the slam-dunk David Corn just posted. Karl and Co. and (and Kenny Mehlman) can’t hide behind statements like these:
“The fact is, Karl Rove did not leak classified information.”
— Ken Mehlman, head of the RNC
“I didn’t know her name. I didn’t leak her name.”
— Karl Rove of Valerie Wilson/Plame last year on CNN.
“He did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.”
— Robert Luskin, Rove’s attorney
…and here’s why, from Corn’s blog:
According to Cooper’s email, Rove told Cooper that “Wilson’s wife”–not “Valerie Plame,” or “Valerie Wilson”–worked at the CIA. But this distinction has absolutely no legal relevance. Under the relevant law–the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982–a crime is committed when a government official (not a journalist) “intentionally discloses any information identifying” an undercover intelligence officer. The act does not say a name must be disclosed.
By telling a reporter that Joseph Wilson’s wife was a CIA officer, Rove was clearly disclosing “identifying” information. There was only one Mrs. Joseph Wilson. With such information in hand, Cooper or anyone else could easily have ascertained the name of this officer. (A Google search at the time would have yielded the name–and maiden name–of Wilson’s wife.) Revealing the name is not the crime; it’s disclosing information that IDs the officer.
Imagine if a government official told a reporter, “At 3:15, a fellow in a green hat, carrying a red umbrella and holding a six-pack of Mountain Dew, will be tap-dancing in front of the Starbucks at Connecticut Avenue and R Street–he’s the CIA’s best undercover officer working North Korea.” That official could not defend himself, under this law, by claiming that he had not revealed the name of this officer. The issue is identifying, not naming. Rove and his allies cannot hide behind his no-name claim.
TALKING POINT: Karl Rove was “not the leaker“.
FACT: Rove’s attorney’s statement and Cooper’s email shows this claim is false. Rove did leak Plame’s identity. (Whether or not this is found to be prosecutable is another matter).
P.S. It’s not like this is the first time Rove has been in the spotlight for leaking secrets.
TALKING POINT: Karl Rove has never lied about his role in this matter.
FACT: Yes, he has.
TALKING POINT: The White House has never lied or misled people about its role in this matter.
TALKING POINT: Karl Rove never knew that Valerie Plame was covert.
FACT: Really? Then why not state this on the record, something Rove’s attorney refuses to do.
TALKING POINT: Matt Cooper of Time magazine “burned” Rove.
FACT: Rove’s lawyer, who made the above fake claim, himself has been expounding again and again about how Rove gave complete waivers to all his journalist contacts to testify.
[Shakes’ note: I think Luskin’s claim that Rove was “burned” was in reference to Cooper “distorting” his conversation with Rove to make it look like Rove was talking about Plame just to be vindictive toward Wilson, rather than in reference to Cooper talking to Fitzgerald. Nonetheless, it’s a ridiculous assertion, since Rove’s claim is that he wasn’t calling to be vindictive, but to let Cooper know that Wilson wasn’t credible. See two paragraphs below on the debunking of that premise.]
TALKING POINT: Bob Novak used the word “operative” by accident and his sources did not say she was one.
FACT: This is false, after-the-fact spin from Novak.
Rove “was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story” based on Joe Wilson’s “false premise” (that DCI Tenet or VP Cheney authorized his trip)
FACT: False. Moreover, Joe Wilson did not make such a claim before Rove exposed Valerie Plame’s identity.
TALKING POINT: The Senate Intelligence Committee said that Valerie Plame was the one who set up Joe Wilson’s trip.
FACT: False and false. (Also see here). (In fact, there is no consensus view that Valerie Plame even suggested that Wilson be sent on the trip.)
TALKING POINT: The White House/GOP cannot comment on questions regarding Rove or his role because of the ongoing investigation.
FACT: False. A completely bogus claim considering that they are talking behind the scenes or issuing false/misleading press releases (also see here and here) spreading fakery about Wilson. (Not to mention, they felt free to comment self-servingly about the whole matter until the Rove story broke.)
TALKING POINT: Karl Rove is not a target of Fitzgerald’s investigation.
FACT: He is a subject of the investigation.
TALKING POINT: The Butler Report etc. vindicated Bush’s “uranium in Africa” State of the Union claim
False. The Butler Report was intended to exonerate Tony Blair and George Bush to prevent them from facing criminal charges. For obvious reasons, it excluded reams of information about Bush’s claim that showed that the White House lied through it’s teeth in defending Bush’s claim. (Indeed, as the link shows, people from the NSA, CIA etc. themselves stated that the SOTU claim did not have a sound backing.)
TALKING POINT: This is all just a partisan attack by Democrats (or Joseph Wilson)
FACT: False. The GOP leadership has a habit of minimizing numerous acts of treason from individuals inside the Bush administration over the last several years, by smearing truth-tellers. This is just the latest episode among many. In private, even Republicans admit that this kind of nonsense would have resulted in Congressional hearings “in a second”, if the President had been a Democrat. Not to mention the hypocrisy of Rove himself.
TALKING POINT: Even if Karl Rove leaked Valerie Plame’s identity, it’s no big deal and deserves a medal.
FACT: The GOP’s Ed Gillespie and George Bush disagreed (with an emphasis on ‘d’). In fact, if it’s so not a big deal, why all this intrigue about what the White House can or cannot comment on? Just tell the truth then rather than hiding behind reporters and smears of people who had nothing to do with the expose. (As for medals, it probably deserves a medal in prison, to define the “role model” for fellow prisoners at Gitmo – while eating rice pilaf in the process).
TALKING POINT: There was no legal crime committed with the Plame expose.
FACT: False and false. So much for offering “a stiff dose of truth” instead of “more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials”.
TALKING POINT: Joseph Wilson supported John Kerry.
FACT: So? He also supported Republicans in the past (before they turned on him and his wife, treasonously) and was recognized by George Bush Sr. for his bravery against Saddam Hussein in Iraq – where he was ambassador before Gulf War I.