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July 10, 2005
Thin Reed On Rove

The Karl Rove-Valerie Plame link that Matt Cooper supposedly protected appears very weak after Newsweek released its story today on the mysterious sourcing for last year's leak. Newsweek does its best to pump up the volume in its lead:

It was 11:07 on a Friday morning, July 11, 2003, and Time magazine correspondent Matt Cooper was tapping out an e-mail to his bureau chief, Michael Duffy. "Subject: Rove/P&C," (for personal and confidential), Cooper began. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation..." Cooper proceeded to spell out some guidance on a story that was beginning to roil Washington. He finished, "please don't source this to rove or even WH [White House]" and suggested another reporter check with the CIA.

The ellipsis here makes all the difference. What, exactly, did Cooper warn not to source to Rove? Readers have to move past the jump to find that out:

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 Tenetor 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." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) 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 other words, Rove did not reveal Plame's name, nor did he tell Cooper that she was on a NOC list or performing any kind of covert work. Moreover, he told Cooper the truth, as the Senate Intelligence Committee found out. As the Washington Post reported almost a year ago, Wilson repeatedly lied about the role Plame had in pushing him for the assignment to Niger, as well as the information contained in his report on Niger. Rove warned Cooper not to trust Wilson or the public-relations offensive Wilson had launched to discredit the Bush administration by pointing out the conflict of interest that Wilson never acknowledged.

So far, this lead has gone nowhere in the Plame leak. Patrick Fitzgerald has done nothing but embarrass himself by jailing a reporter and turning her into a martyr over something that probably doesn't amount to a prosecutable crime in the first place. It will be damned difficult to generate any outrage on behalf of a CIA agent who sent her husband on a public mission to undermine the American government during a time of war, mostly through lies and half-truths, and who now wants to hide behind a covert status that no one can actually establish applied at the time.

Fitzgerald needs to close the case and let Judith Miller out of jail.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 10, 2005 5:30 AM

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