The Washington Post has tracked down the contents of the State Dept. memo from 2003 that may prove to be the linchpin in the scandal surrounding the Bush White House leak that blew the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson:
A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.
The memo was prepared in June 2003 and then circulated again among top White House officials the next month after the New York Times published a column by former ambassador Joe Wilson, the husband of the secret agent, in which he eviscerated the Bush Administration’s claims that Iraq had obtained nuclear materials from Niger. The column was published on July 6. On July 8, then Secretary of State Colin Powell was seen with the memo on Air Force One, on a flight to Africa with President Bush and his top officials.
Among those who read the memo was the White House press secretary at the time, Ari Fleischer. What is not known – except possibly by the special prosecutor in the case – is whether or Karl Rove read the memo.
This is crucical because if Rove read the memo, he was fully aware that Mrs. Wilson’s identity was classified when he revealed it to rightwing pundit Bob Novak on July 8, 2003.
If Rove knowingly revealed the identity of a secret agent, he could face a 10 year stretch.