We had several leaks last week in the Plame Name Blame Game scandal from an unnamed source who was described as being familiar with Karl Rove’s grand jury testimony.
What has gone barely noticed is that someone else leaked some information that is highly detrimental to Rove. It was published in the American Prospect:
White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed CIA officer Valerie Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper during Rove’s first interview with the FBI, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
The omission by Rove created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame’s name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said.
Say WHAT?! Rove lied to federal investigators? Wait – isn’t that what Martha Stewart went to jail for?
Also leading to the early skepticism of Rove’s accounts was the claim that although he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a journalist, he said could not recall the name of the journalist. Later, the sources said, Rove wavered even further, saying he was not sure at all where he first heard the information.
Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, has said that Rove never knew that Plame was a covert officer when he discussed her CIA employment with reporters, and that he only first learned of her clandestine status when he read about it in the newspaper. Luskin did not return a telephone call today seeking comment for this story.
We now know that the State Dept. prepared a memo on Valerie Plame on July 7, 2003, the day after the New York Times published a column written by her husband, Joe Wilson, in which Wilson denounced the administration for lying about Saddam Hussein’s nuclear capabilities.
The question now becomes, did Karl Rove read that memo or not.
If recently disclosed press accounts of conversations that Rove had with reporters are correct, Novak and Rove first spoke about Plame on July 8, 2003. It was three days later, on July 11, that Rove also spoke about Plame to Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper. Three days after that, on July 14, Novak’s column appeared in which he identified Plame as an “agency operative.” According to Novak’s account, it was he, not Rove, who first broached the issue of Plame’s employment with the CIA, and that Rove at most simply said that he, too, had heard much the same information.
If Rove knew that Plame was undercover when he ratted her out, he goes to jail for a big stretch. If he didn’t know, he’s still facing the charge that – like Democrat Martha Stewart – he lied to federal investigators.