Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back Story on Rove

I read a cool article on MSNBC Newsweek that details some of the back story to the White House leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's undercover identity. Here is a list of the most pertinent details:

1) The Time reporter Mathew Cooper aswell as an NY Times journalist is refusing to testify inspite of the decision to hand over the documents pertaining to the investigation by Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine. They potentially face a jail sentence.

2) The ascribed motivation for the leak, which I didn't fully grasp beforehand, was to undermine the credibility of Joseph Wilson's trip to Niger. Plame was based there, and it was implied that her nepotism lead to Wilson's employ, and in turn, damaged the validity of his findings. His findings were that there was no evidence to support the assertion that Iraq purchased enriched Uranium from Niger.

3) It seems that Bob Novak has made some kind of deal with Special Council Fitzgerald, as he is not being aggressively held to account like the Time and NY TImes reporters are. This is very strange.

4) Mathew Cooper has divulged that one of his sources was a top aide to Dick Cheney. He provided this information when the aide in question gave him permission to do so.

5) Rove's interaction with Cooper took place almost a week before the Novak article outed Plame.

6) Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin has made two interesting statements about what Rove did not say to Cooper in his coversation. Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA," according to the Newsweek article. The first statement implies that Rove did pass on classfied information, but just wasn't aware that he was doing so. The second implies that Rove DID discuss Valerie Plame with Cooper but simply didn't make reference to the fact that she was a CIA operative.

My assessment of this would be that Rove told Cooper that Valerie Plame worked in Niger and got Wilson, her husband, the job there. This is just my estimation of the events that transpired.

7) According the Newsweek, a couple of days after Novak's column was published, Rove called Chris Mathews and told him that Wilson's wife was "fair game." OUCH!!!

The problem is that the story is complicated, the stakes are difficult to condense into a soundbite, and the extent to which the story will become a topic of conversation amongst the general public is difficult to assess. A lot of evidence is leading towards serious misconduct by the White House senior political advisor. I don't understand why this isn't a bigger story. It's obviously because most news organisations are treading very carefully because of the severity of the implications.

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