Monday, July 11, 2005

The ten steps that have implicated Karl Rove...

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The evidence has been accumulating over the course of the last two weeks, and finally, with the information we've learned via Time reporter Matthew Cooper's decision to co-operate with Special Council Fitzpatrick... we now possess a pretty clear idea of how Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative was leaked to the press. There is an awful lot involved in this complicated web of conspiritorial intrigue, and I can imagine it's difficult to digest all of the information for people who are just discovering the story. These ten steps are a brief overview of all of the pertinent details as I see them... some of these notes comprise information from previous entries I've made.

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1) ROBERT NOVAK
To begin with Robert Novak published a story in 2003 to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson's visit to Niger. Plame, Wilson's wife, was based there as a CIA operative, and Novak inferenced that her nepotism lead to Wilson's investigation into the British Intelligence that had claimed Iraq attempted to purchase enriched Uranium in Niger. The enriched uranium allegation had found its way into the 2003 State of the Union address, implying substantive proof that Saddam Hussein was actively pursuing a nuclear arsenal. Wilson's findings were, to the contrary, that there was no evidence to support the verdict of the British intelligence.

It would emerge later that his report was one of three that the CIA conducted, which all reached the same conclusion.

Novak's article revealed to the world that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative, undercover in the field accruing info on WMD's. Plame's cover was blown, and allegedly, her personal safety was threatened. Novak said he received this information from two senior officials in the White House.

2) TIME MAGAZINE
Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine agreed to hand over documents to an investigation into the Whitehouse leak, including Time reporter Matthew Cooper's emails.

Cooper had claimed, like Novak, to also have received information about Plame from the White House.

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3) LAWRENCE O'DONNELL
O'Donnell, a Democratic pundit, then stated on the television show, "The Mclaughlin Group," that the emails in question would reveal Karl Rove, Senior political advisor to the president, as Matthew Cooper's source on Valerie Plame's identity.

4) REPORTERS REFUSING TO CO-OPERATE
Robert Novak made a deal with Special Council Fitzpatrick investigating the leak, while Cooper, and NY Times reporter, Judith Miller, another journalist who had received information on Plame from the White House, refused to co-operate with the investigation.

6) ROVE'S LAWYER
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, admitted that his client DID have discussions with Cooper a full week before Robert Novak's article was originally published. He made two fascinating statements about what Rove did not say to Cooper in his conversations with him. Luskin stated that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA."

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.

7) LEGAL TECHNICALITIES
Lawrence O'Donnell, on his website column, insightfully noted Robert Luskin's use of the word "knowingly" during the attorney's description of what Rove didn't do in his conversations with Mathew Cooper. O'Donnell said: "Not coincidentally, the word 'knowing' is the most important word in the controlling statute (U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421). To violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent 'knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."

8) CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE
Tangential evidence pointed to Rove's involvement:

According to 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."

In the 1992 campaign Karl Rove worked for Bush Sr. he was was fired for smearing chief campaign fundraiser Robert Mosbacher, Jr. Rove partly employed these smear tactics by planting a negative story with, none other than, Bob Novak. Once this was discovered he departed the campaign. This proves that using Robert Novak as a means to leak information in an attempt to discredit a political foe was a tactic Rove had used in the past.

9) MILLER AND COOPER GO SEPERATE WAYS
When faced with jail, Matthew Cooper received sudden information from his source (Rove) allowing him to co-operate with the investigation. NY Times reporter, Judith Miller, however, stuck to her journalistic principles, and is now serving time in prison for the duration of the inquiry for protecting her sources.

10) THE EMAIL IS LEAKED

...finally, the email's between Karl Rove and Matthew Cooper were leaked to Newsweek.

From Newsweek:
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... The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ... "

IN CONCLUSION:
The email establishes that Rove DID reveal to Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife was working for the CIA. It also reveals Rove implied that she was repsonsible for Wilson's trip to Niger.

However, what the email does not establish is whether Rove disclosed information KNOWINGLY about Valerie Plame's undercover status in the CIA. The email also does not establish whether Rove disclosed Valerie Plame's actual name to Matthew Cooper (which would contradict an earlier statement he made).

It seems unlikely then, that considering Bob Novak's full co-operation with the investigation, causing little concern in the whitehouse, that Karl Rove will have committed perjury to the Grand Jury. (shucks)

What we do know now is precisely what was responsible for the Whitehouse leak: A concerted, co-ordinated smear campaign against Joseph Wilson, of which Rove was at least involved. In response to this controversy George Bush stated "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is...If the person has violated the law, that person will be taken care of."

If the person has violated the law? What if the whole episode was wrong regardless of the legal implications. As each framgment of truth slowly emerges into the public sphere the most disturbing thing to me is the way in which everybody involved... including the President himself... has been cleverly parsing their words cogniscent of the potential for controversy...

It seems, with the facts apparently out in the open... we all have to place our faith in the honesty and integrity of the Special Prosecutor. I desperately hope he can cut through the semantic games being played and lay responsibility for these reckless and cynical activities firmly where it belongs...

...at Karl Rove's doorstep.

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