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September 30, 2003 7:49 PM   Subscribe

Journalists say off the record "it was Karl Rove that I spoke to..." (RealPlayer)
Julian Borger of the Guardian reveals that several journalists have revealed "off the record" that Karl Rove revealed the identity of the CIA operative, but that the reporters aren't publicly admitting it, in order to protect their source. But aren't they also material witnesses to a federal crime? Does not revealing their source make them accessories to that crime?
posted by insomnia_lj (51 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks insomnia_lj - lots of fingers pointing at Rove. Glad to see the foreign press jumping in - our press is on it now, but they sure weren't aggressive about this one over the past few months.

For background info on this scandal to date, this excellent thread has been pretty active. The item you link hadn't been posted, but there are some interesting Rove items near the end of the thread.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:02 PM on September 30, 2003


The Guardian report not revealing his sources in a written newspaper report is not a crime. These sources not automatically telling all and sundry on the record that Rove was the leak is also not a crime. If they are questioned as material witness, and then fail to tell, then it is a crime.

Check back if Ashcroft ever allows a prosecution to get in front of a judge. (hah!)
posted by eriko at 8:06 PM on September 30, 2003


The item you link hadn't been posted,

Actually, it was, as a link to Atrios' entry where he broke the news and linked to the RA file - which I still can't get to work. Quicktime? Transcript? Tomorrow's paper?

Anyway, if this were a lesser story, I'd be all hella double-post righteous and bitching and so on, but this is a big one, which keeps developing fascinating angles, so more power to ya, insomnia_lj.
posted by soyjoy at 8:41 PM on September 30, 2003


Lectures on the Importance of Independent Counsels (subtitle: Hypocrisy Never Fails to Amuse)
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 8:46 PM on September 30, 2003


Does not revealing their source make them accessories to that crime?

Does Shield Law trump Patriot Act, he asked rhetorically? Eriko, quite rightly (leftly?) points out that Ashcroft will never take it so far.
posted by billsaysthis at 8:46 PM on September 30, 2003


I was very surprised - when I went down to my local "mill-town until recently on the skids but now being buoyed up by climbing real estate values" corner "Beer. lottery, milk, and jerky store" - to see this breaking scandal story on the front page of my East Podunk local paper.

Ha ha. Dump a lot of hungry rats into a small cage. What happens?...........
posted by troutfishing at 8:48 PM on September 30, 2003


Ah. Got the link to work finally. Thank you all for your cards and well-wishes. So I guess my question is, if journalists are saying this privately to Julian Borger, whom else are they saying it to? And who else is going to put this out there in a more solid format? Journalistic ethics are a great institution, but I don't want to be cheated out of a good frog-march.

And, uh, foldy, amberglow had already posted that link on the other thread. Now, see, if this were a lesser story, I'd be all hella etc., etc., etc.
posted by soyjoy at 9:17 PM on September 30, 2003


no prob--this story has more legs than an octopus. : >
posted by amberglow at 9:27 PM on September 30, 2003


Check back if Ashcroft ever allows a prosecution to get in front of a judge.

moussaoui ?
posted by specialk420 at 9:49 PM on September 30, 2003


Woo hoo! Let the frogmarch begin!
posted by Argyle at 10:00 PM on September 30, 2003


Robert Novak clears up all our questions.

I for one am glad to see this matter straightened out so we can move on to serious business.....

... like frog-marching Karl Rove out of the White House in handcuffs.
posted by futureproof at 10:04 PM on September 30, 2003


Ashcroft? - He's too busy reinstating a kinder, gentler version of the Spanish Inquisition
posted by troutfishing at 10:09 PM on September 30, 2003


Here's the complete transcript of the NewsHour piece with Larry Johnson that was refered to in the other thread.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on September 30, 2003


Borger has a new article in the Guardian.
posted by homunculus at 10:23 PM on September 30, 2003


homunculus, that's great--thanks. I'm wondering whether we'll be seeing more Republicans speaking as openly as Larry Johnson did.
posted by amberglow at 10:23 PM on September 30, 2003


As always, the majors are cut and dry, while the Blogs cut to the chase (you'll wanna focus on sept 29 and sept 30, specifically, for the 2nd link)
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:24 PM on September 30, 2003


He's too busy reinstating a kinder, gentler version of the Spanish Inquisition

He's overseeing several inquisitions, some more unkind than others.
posted by homunculus at 10:26 PM on September 30, 2003


In other news, Miramax contacts surviving relatives of Peter Lorre in hopes of a contractual agreement for a computer-generated likeness (of the long dead film great) to play Karl Rove in a re-make of "M".
posted by troutfishing at 10:27 PM on September 30, 2003


I'm wondering whether we'll be seeing more Republicans speaking as openly as Larry Johnson did.

Here's a hint of what may come:

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, summed up what appeared to be the prevailing view in his party: "It all may be perfectly innocent, but I think it calls for an investigation."
posted by y2karl at 10:32 PM on September 30, 2003


The Truth is Puttin’ on its Shoes: An Inquiry Into the "Innocent" Mr. Rove - a view from James C. Moore, Co-Author of "Bush’s Brain," The Political History of Karl Rove.

Reporters have discovered Rove’s steely control in the form of what they call a "leak proof" White House. Nothing comes out of the Bush White House without Rove’s approval. Generally, that means nothing comes out of the White House.

Until Karl Rove wants something to leak.

posted by madamjujujive at 11:00 PM on September 30, 2003




Perhaps I am being unfair to Karl Rove without giving him a chance to comment.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:49 PM on September 30, 2003


It's perfectly OK to be unfair to Karl Rove. Remember, he's a perp.
posted by zaelic at 1:27 AM on October 1, 2003


Frog marching is so much more aesthetically pleasing than goose stepping, don't you think?

Back in July (when this story first broke) I made the comment that the White House (Karl Rove) was making a severe mistake in blaming the CIA and attacking their agents.
My thinking was/is: Who do they think invented the Mighty Wurlitzer and "shadow government?"
Rove was playing with fire and messing with real pros and now there's a price to pay (we all hope.) Thank goodness.
posted by nofundy at 5:23 AM on October 1, 2003


Speaking of deception, it seems Bob Novak is changing his story under pressure (quoted from TPM).

Another big problem with Novak's comments on Crossfire today. Today he said ...
Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this. In July I was interviewing a senior administration official on Ambassador Wilson's report when he told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction.

But then there's this passage in a July 22nd article in Newsday ...
Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

I'd say the story's changed.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:42 AM on October 1, 2003


So what's going to happen? If Rove or somebody high up leaked this to 5 or 6 journalists, then the truth is floating around somewhere and shouldn't be too hard to get at with a little research. Someone obviously leaked this, that's not a question at this point.

Ashcroft isn't going subpoena reporters, because then they would have to talk, they could answer this question exactly and easily. The Justice Dept will try to get by with something that looks like they're playing hardball, but really do nothing. Spin control in progress.

This whole thing just illustrates the way Rove thinks and operates, like a thug. Who is going to be the patsy for him? The G. Gordon Liddy. This shouldn't be hard to figure out, but something tells me that it's going to get the run around. The more of a runaround the more inclined I am to think Rove himself did it. Why not get the responsible guy and make a quick easy example of him to stop the bleeding early? McClellan's press briefing on this would have made unresponsive Ari Fleisher proud.
posted by GiantRobot at 6:50 AM on October 1, 2003


(again, via Talking Points Memo):
Sources close to the former president [George H.W. Bush] say Rove was fired from the 1992 Bush presidential campaign after he planted a negative story with columnist Robert Novak about dissatisfaction with campaign fundraising chief and Bush loyalist Robert Mosbacher Jr. It was smoked out, and he was summarily ousted.

"Why Are These Men Laughing?"
Ron Suskind
Esquire
January 2003
posted by VulcanMike at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2003


McClellan's press briefing on this would have made unresponsive Ari Fleisher proud

I actually thought he sounded kind of desperate to change the subject:
MR. McCLELLAN: Wait, are we through with this subject?
Q No.
Q No.
MR. McCLELLAN: Because I'm going to move on.
All through the transcript, he pushes the soundbite -- we don't have any specific info, so take it to the DOJ -- tries to move on to another topic, then gets pulled right back into it. He gets baited into admitting that there aren't very many people who could've had the information to leak it in the first place:
MR. McCLELLAN: ...I'm not going to go down a list of every single staffer in the White House, when there's not specific information that has been brought to my attention to suggest --
Q No, I understand your argument there. But there are a limited number of people who would be aware of this information. Is it --
MR. McCLELLAN: That's right, I would think so.
...sets the white house up for major problems if and when people start naming names:
Q ...since it's so severe, would someone or a group of persons, lose their job in the White House --
MR. McCLELLAN: At a minimum.
Q At a minimum?
MR. McCLELLAN: At a minimum.
...and gets at least one bit of spin thwacked down hard, with no response:
MR. McCLELLAN: It was well documented by the United Nations Security Council that there were undocumented stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
Q That's not true. Talk to Ekeus, the Chairman. He has said that that's not the case, that you are mischaracterizing U.N. reports.
MR. McCLELLAN: We're going to move on.
True, he does manage to get out of the room without dropping any unintended soundbites, and without answering the 'why the White House isn't doing anything proactive about this?' question. But Ari was much, much better at this job.

Which, y'know, is fine by me.
posted by ook at 11:46 AM on October 1, 2003


...and gets at least one bit of spin thwacked down hard

ook - that was David Corn, who talks entertainingly about the exchange, and the whole press briefing here.

But come on, MeFi! There's already been another? briefing, and we're sittin' around parsing Monday's? There's all kinds of crazy shit goin' on in blogland, and I'm surprised we're so far behind the curve, considering how we jumped on this back in July...
posted by soyjoy at 12:01 PM on October 1, 2003


For someone who is monitoring the blogs more closely than I: who are the favorites for the two unknown leaker positions?

From what I have read, it looks like Rove and "Scooter" Libby are the main contenders.

But The Note makes it sound like everyone in DC knows who it actually was. None of the bloggers that I read seem to be spilling the beans on this supposedly open secret. So, who was it?
posted by Mid at 12:09 PM on October 1, 2003


mid: i've heard Ari Fleischer as the other guy, with Rove.
posted by amberglow at 12:24 PM on October 1, 2003


From what I have read, it looks like Rove and "Scooter" Libby are the main contenders.

mid: i've heard Ari Fleischer as the other guy, with Rove.


All three of these people--as well as Karen Hughes, who I've also seen floated as a possible person to blame--served in strictly administrative functions, as political operatives and nothing more. None of them could have organizally or independently known who was or was not a CIA operative. If they try to throw these people overboard, someone else has to go with them, because someone in the know had to have given them the information in the first place. Either that, or we need an explanation as to why Karl Rove gets access to sensitive national security information.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:33 PM on October 1, 2003


doesn't that just leave Bush, Cheney, Rice or Powell? Who else has clearance?
posted by amberglow at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2003


Guys (and ladies). This is a smoke screen, and y'all are fallin' for it. Rove has taken a bullet for the team before. He's doing it again. It's sleight of hand. The administration is trying to find someone other than Shrub to blame for all of this. He needs a patsy. A stooge. Someone he can claim misled his administration while he was takin' a nap. Uncle Ronnie taught him this one. Back in the Iran Contra thing, Oliver North took a dive, but the actual blame and event order was inconclusive because "I cannot recall that senator." After the Watergate fiasco, the republicans got a little bit smarter about preparing for the inevitable disclosure. Nowadays they orchestrate them.

Keep your eye on the ball, people! I don't care about blaming the little fishies. The responsibility for us going into Baghdad to finish what Daddy Bush started should rest squarely on the shoulders of Georgie Jr. Sink or swim. He set out on the Titanic. He should go down with the ship. I swear, Shrub would grab a baby from a crowd to shield himself from a sniper if he thought it would save his hide. Then he'd blame it on the baby's mother. And yall'd believe him. I live in bizarro world. I swear I do.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2003




ZachsMind - pursuant to "keep your eye on the ball" - USA Today says 'Scandal' has media digging -- in the wrong place. The thrust is that this is distracting us from crap that's going seriously wrong in Iraq. But I think the beauty of this potential frog-march is that it is intrinsically related to Bush's Big Lie about Iraq, and if our national press corps applies anything like logical thought processes to it, the damage could spread through his whole administration. I know, that's a big "if."

On preview: Too much typin'
posted by soyjoy at 1:21 PM on October 1, 2003


Their undersecretaries and such, I think. Bolton, Wolfowitz and such. Who knows, though? In this White House, you can probably find the CIA's most meticulously researched reports in the trash can. After all, there's only so much space on the shelves, and they only like to read certain kinds of intelligence anyhow.

It's like this: the CIA is James Joyce, and the White House is the Oprah Book Club, but Oprah is Ahmed Chalabi.

ZachsMind:
First, you could be right, but I would bet that Bush was intentionally kept out of the know in the earlier stages of this stuff. It would seem to be SOP for presidential administrations. But in any case, the smokescreen phase tends to be where the critical fuck-ups occur. Look at Watergate. It doesn't even matter if Nixon ordered the break-in.

Second, if this is a smokescreen, it will fail. You can't sacrifice a political operative, because a leak of information to which he is not entitled could not have begun with him.

I'm trying to keep my eye on the ball, but they're running a flea-flicker right now. You are implying that we're all biting on a play-action fake, but our safeties are still deep. I can't wait to see Joseph Wilson's sack dance.

/pointless football metaphors
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:26 PM on October 1, 2003


It's like this: the CIA is James Joyce, and the White House is the Oprah Book Club, but Oprah is Ahmed Chalabi.

This is the most inscrutably brilliant (or brilliantly inscrutable?) simile I believe I have ever heard. My hat is off, Ignatius J.!
posted by scody at 1:37 PM on October 1, 2003


Reilly my beef is that we're even sniffing around this poo when we know it for what it is. It's throwing the bloodhounds off the scent. Why do we even need to sniff around? What's going on in Iraq right now should be evidence enough.

"...but I would bet that Bush was intentionally kept out of the know..."

Who gives a turkey? It's his administration. Instead of playing the blame game, he should suck it up and take responsibility for the decisions of his administration. That's what a real leader would do. There's a reason why the office is designed to be recyclable and replaceable.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:45 PM on October 1, 2003


Instead of playing the blame game, he should suck it up and take responsibility for the decisions of his administration. That's what a real leader would do.

But as far as I can tell, we're done determining whether he is a "real leader." The fact is, his administration is largely showing itself to be some sort of criminal syndicate, and in prosecuting it it is necessary to be procedural and everything. I don't care who goes to jail, but it seems that one of the only things that could derail this derailing of this presidency is if the investigation gets Mark Furman'ed somehow. It is important that the investigation be impartial and proper, isn't it?

The DOj is not going to determine who people vote for, but it would be a nice surprise if they were apolitical in determining who to frogmarch.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:02 PM on October 1, 2003


"Keep your eye on the ball, people! I don't care about blaming the little fishies."

We need this little fish. This is the blood in the water. The real meat will follow. Since 9/11 the press has been afraid to call bullshit on the Bush administration. They are hungry for a full blown scandal. if the administration is dangling a fish, it's about to get it's arm bit off.

This is where we start calling bullshit. The administration is focused on catching terrorists? They why are we stabbing our spies in the back?

It will expand out from here. And the comparison to Iran/Contra is a bit off. Bush can't claim that he didn't know about the Iraq war. And don't forget how this blew up - The CIA decided to take off the kid gloves and get some pay back for being blamed when Bush lies. In other words, the CIA is calling bullshit. The same CIA who gave the Whitehouse intel that basically said war in Iraq wasn't justified and rebuilding would fail.

This is the blood in the water. Captain Crotch Harness won't be lying his way out this time.

"Who gives a turkey? It's his administration."

You and I might agree that Bush needs to take the blame for allowing such a back stabbing jerk into the Whitehouse, but most won't. 9/11 has made people too "patriotic", too willing to give the Commander and Chief the benefit of the doubt. You know they won't see the obvious. The "one step at a time" approach will work better.
posted by y6y6y6 at 2:28 PM on October 1, 2003


doesn't that just leave Bush, Cheney, Rice or Powell? Who else has clearance?

Underlings at the National Security Council.

Remember, the motive to leak Plame's name was to silence Wilson. Wilson's story was damaging to the people behind the "16 words" concerning the phantom African uranium in the State of the Union Speech. The 16 words seem to have come from the NSC.

Ergo, right around the time the 16 words controversy was crashing down on the NSC, some NSC underlings leaked Plame's name to Rove/Ari. Maybe the discussion went something like:

Rove: Hey NSC guy, this person Wilson is killing us. Why did you put the 16 words in the speech?

NSC guy: The 16 words were correct. And, besides, Wilson was only in Africa because his wife is CIA. The CIA hates us and the Iraq war, so, naturally, they sent a guy who would come back and kill us.

Rove: Thanks for the tip! I've got a few calls to make!

Howabout Robert Joseph for the part of NSC guy?
posted by Mid at 2:43 PM on October 1, 2003


Or Hadley, who has already resigned. That would be convenient. In any case, we won't be finding out the way that 69% or Americans would prefer.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:48 PM on October 1, 2003


The "one step at a time" approach will work better.
Totally...and helps with the 2004 elections for us Dems. Let them drag this scandal stuff out for at least a year. : >

Mid: is the NSC prosecutable? touchable at all?
posted by amberglow at 3:02 PM on October 1, 2003


his excerpt from VulcanMike's link upthread makes me believe Rove coulda done it:
"....Karl Rove being the prime suspect...Bush loyalists, maybe working for the campaign, maybe just representing its interests, claimed in parking-lot handouts and telephone "push polls" and whisper campaigns that McCain’s wife, Cindy, was a drug addict, that McCain might be mentally unstable from his captivity in Vietnam, and that the senator had fathered a black child with a prostitute. Callers push-polled members of a South Carolina right-to-life organization and other groups, asking if the black baby might influence their vote. Now here’s the twist, the part that drives McCain admirers insane to this very day: That last rumor took seed because the McCains had done an especially admirable thing. Years back they’d adopted a baby from a Mother Teresa orphanage in Bangladesh. Bridget, now eleven years old, waved along with the rest of the McCain brood from stages across the state, a dark-skinned child inadvertently providing a photo op for slander. The attacks were of a level and vitriol that even McCain, who was regularly beaten in captivity, could not ignore. "

Man's got balls...evil, festering balls.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:01 PM on October 1, 2003


He sure does. That's why Mid's Disney version of the wide-eyed Rove is so side-splittingly funny.

No offense or anything, Mid. I appreciate a good laugh.
posted by soyjoy at 6:17 PM on October 1, 2003


I was listening to the ombudsman from the Washington Post earlier today on NPR and he more or less thought that Novak couldn't be charged with anything or even handed a subpeona.

I understand the touchy ground regarding sources and freedom of the press, but if Novak's *intent* was to expose Plume via order of some White House official it seems like he is no longer a reporter but a hired goon doing an illegal job. Its not like Novak came to this conclusion after lots of investigative reporting, someone called him and told him to print it. That's not journalism, that's something else entirely.

Comparing Novak to someone who may have disclosed classified information as part of their job doesn't seem fair. I think its becoming clear that Novak knowingly did this to get Wilson's goat and in those circumstances I doubt he can claim "journalistic immunity."
posted by skallas at 6:44 PM on October 1, 2003


Attorney General Is Closely Linked to Inquiry Figures

"Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, whose possible role in the case has raised questions, was a paid consultant to three of Mr. Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri, twice for governor and for United States senator, in the 1980's and 1990's, an associate of Mr. Rove said on Wednesday."
posted by homunculus at 8:39 PM on October 1, 2003


Oozing Hypocrisy Over a Leak
posted by homunculus at 10:13 AM on October 2, 2003


get your war on's latest
posted by amberglow at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2003


And one of the names is..........Scooter Libby
posted by futureproof at 10:34 PM on October 3, 2003


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