It was... Novak?
July 14, 2005 10:29 PM   Subscribe

RoveFilter (via Drudge): Where does it go now? The AP is now saying Bob Novak told Karl Rove about Valerie Plame, who then passed it on to other journalists. So who told Novak? Pass the popcorn, this could get interesting.
posted by trinarian (87 comments total)
Seemed interesting and new enough to warrant as an FPP, even if I have been calling people out for putting too many RoveFilter links up on the main page.
posted by trinarian at 10:32 PM on July 14, 2005

So--Novak gets immunity for agreeing to testify, then Novak takes the fall for the leak and can't be touched. Brilliant!
posted by mecran01 at 10:34 PM on July 14, 2005

Its a violation. Look close at the statute. Its illegal to disclose "information that identifies a covert agent." It doesn't matter whether or not the other person already knew the fact. There's a good reason for that. A person is far less likely to trust a single-sourced piece of gossip. But if another person confirms the fact, it is still "information that identifies a covert agent" and that information is still valuable and wrong to disclose.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:35 PM on July 14, 2005

Bullshit--why did he and another administration official then call all those reporters to spread it around? Complete bullshit.

Novak originally said something completely different too--no? This is either spin or more perjury from Rove.
posted by amberglow at 10:38 PM on July 14, 2005

Well... That makes sense...

Wait, no it doesn't.
posted by drezdn at 10:38 PM on July 14, 2005

And people have already testified that Rove told them, not the other way around. And--that means that 2 other "senior administration officials" are responsible too. This so doesn't pass the smell test.
posted by amberglow at 10:40 PM on July 14, 2005

It *seems* that, at the time, Rove spoke to Cooper, the information hadn't been made publicly available, hence Rove's act of dissemination ought to be illegal, irrespective of the fact that Rove was an intermediate link in the chain. But politically, I think, this defuses the Rove 'scandal', if true, since Rove's actions are more reckless rather than treasonous. Novak was going to print the info anyway, so it *seems*.
posted by daksya at 10:42 PM on July 14, 2005

from the Times: ...On Oct. 1, 2003, Mr. Novak wrote another column in which he described calling two officials who were his sources for the earlier column. The first source, whose identity has not been revealed, provided the outlines of the story and was described by Mr. Novak as "no partisan gunslinger." Mr. Novak wrote that when he called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."

That second source was Mr. Rove, the person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Rove's account to investigators about what he told Mr. Novak was similar in its message although the White House adviser's recollection of the exact words was slightly different. Asked by investigators how he knew enough to leave Mr. Novak with the impression that his information was accurate, Mr. Rove said he had heard parts of the story from other journalists but had not heard Ms. Wilson's name. ...

Mehlman has already refused to speak about the WH strategy sessions too--The White House planned this leak, so again, how does this pass the smell test? In Rove Scandal, Spin Turns into Stonewalling--...Mehlman insisted that Rove did not leak classified information. Well, how does he know what Rove did in addition to talking to Cooper? And is the employment status of a CIA NOC--that is, someone who has nonofficial cover, as Valerie Wilson did--not classified information? Blitzer asked Mehlman if Mehlman had attended White House meetings on how to deal with Joseph Wilson. Mehlman replied with a lawyerly, "I don't recall those meetings occurring." And when Blitzer inquired if he had been called before the grand jury, Mehlman borrowed a line from McClellan: "I'm not going to comment on the specifics of this investigation." Think about this: Mehlman is on television defending the White House, but he won't say whether he's part of the controversy. At that point, Blitzer should have said to him, "If you cannot tell us whether you are involved or not in this investigation--as a witness or as a target--why should we believe anything that you say? And we're not going to continue this interview unless you fully reveal your role and interest in this." ...
posted by amberglow at 10:46 PM on July 14, 2005

Look into my eyes and ye shall know Truth!!!
posted by trinarian at 10:54 PM on July 14, 2005

Pass the popcorn, this could get interesting.

I think you mean "pass the buck."
posted by blacklite at 11:01 PM on July 14, 2005

Welp, I guess that's the end of it. All that money wasted on this silly investigation would have fed a lot of starving children.
posted by republican at 11:17 PM on July 14, 2005

Welp, I guess that's the end of it. All that money wasted on this silly investigation would have fed a lot of starving children the ravenous war machine.
posted by quonsar at 11:36 PM on July 14, 2005

Just got back from some drinking, saw this on an AP story, was hoping Mefi was going to talk about it.

Ok, so is Rove's word enough to wash him clean? It'd be Novak's word against his. So. Is that all there is to it? Kaput?

Justice and liberty for all, right? Justice as it was used in the motto - was it implied that it swings (swang?) both ways?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:38 PM on July 14, 2005

Welp, I guess that's the end of it.

Just the opposite, I'd have thought.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:39 PM on July 14, 2005

If I were really paranoid, I'd suspect that Rove ordered the White House to cut off all information on this for a few days, let the media work itself into a frenzy of speculation, then release this, ensuring that it got maximum play, and embarassed the dems for having stuck their necks out so far earlier. Fortunately, I'm not quite that paranoid, but it does look like it may turn out that way nonetheless.
posted by gsteff at 11:42 PM on July 14, 2005

So if this is a matter of national security.. let's put Bob Novak into 'Torture Lite' and get to the bottom of this.

Seriously, though, it's been almost 2 years. They've pretty much fixed the space shuttle in that amount of time. Getting information out of journalists shouldn't be as difficult, for pete's sake.

I realize everything I've just written isn't even tangentially relevant, but it's ridiculous how long it's taken to get this far. This investigation should have taken 2 months, tops.
posted by mhh5 at 11:53 PM on July 14, 2005

This investigation should have taken 2 months, tops.

Well, that's how it appears, but we don't know much about the investigation. The 8 redacted pages from one of the judicial opinions ordering Miller/Cooper to testify hint at why it may be taking longer.
posted by gsteff at 12:01 AM on July 15, 2005

Of course, this "innocent" explanation assumes that Bob Novak is so balanced and non-partisan that he wouldn't lie for the Bush administration. Do you trust Bob Novak? Me neither. Time to supoena the phone logs...

Expect Bob Novak to announce his source in the run-up to the next election. Senator Hillary Clinton!
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:57 AM on July 15, 2005

im still not sure rove didnt name names because according to this at least two people gave Novak the name
Newsday 7/22/03:
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."
so if neither of Bob's sources (in reference to this quote) were Rove that means at least three people were involved in leaking the information.

or it means that Rove et al are lying about Rove never naming names.

Please Lord let it be the latter.
posted by tsarfan at 1:58 AM on July 15, 2005

More bullshit from Luskin.
posted by raaka at 3:55 AM on July 15, 2005

When the heck will a major media source say "OMG STFU you're playing word games you political worm "Wilson's wife" is the same as "name" and you knew that you dirty rotten scoundrel."

Oh wait, it won't, because apparently the only balls in media belong to a nightly comedy show.

*eye roll*
posted by cavalier at 4:15 AM on July 15, 2005

More bullshit from Luskin.
Either him or someone in his office:
CNN: ...The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA. ...

What this does is widen the investigation, and not end it at all, especially if there's testimony from Mehlman and Bush and Cheney and Libby and Fleischer and the CIA...This story wasn't the line they were peddling for the past 2 years, and it's not what Cooper testified to, is it?
posted by amberglow at 4:59 AM on July 15, 2005

Interesting: they've floated this balloon already: The Forward--Jailed Reporter Draws Ire of Left, Right--

... Conservative press watchdog Cliff Kincaid, editor of the Accuracy in Media Report, thinks that Miller is covering up her own involvement in Plame's outing rather than protecting the high principle of the inviolability of the confidential source.

"Speculation is mounting that Miller is protecting herself — that Miller was herself a source of information about Plame that made it to several Bush administration officials and was then recycled to columnist Robert Novak," Kincaid wrote in a syndicated column titled "Why Judith Miller Should Stay in Jail."

The Times reacted sharply to Kincaid's contention. "Ms. Miller learned about Valerie Plame from a confidential source or sources whose identity she continues to protect to this day," Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis wrote in an e-mail. "If the suggestion is that she is covering up for herself or some fictitious source, that is preposterous. Given that she is suffering in jail, it is also mean spirited." ...

Has any other rightwing pub or person already published this, besides Kincaid?

And Novak in 2003: ...Novak said Monday that he was working on the column when a senior administration official told him the CIA asked Wilson to go to Niger in early 2002 at the suggestion of his wife, whom the source described as "a CIA employee working on weapons of mass destruction."

Another senior administration official gave him the same information, Novak said, and the CIA confirmed her involvement in her husband's mission.

In his column, Novak attributed the information about Plame's involvement in Wilson's trip to Africa to two unnamed senior administration officials.

"They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative and not in charge of undercover operators," Novak said.

The Washington Post quoted a "senior administration official" in a story Sunday as saying that two top White House officials disclosed the identity of Wilson's wife in calls to at least six Washington journalists. Novak was the only recipient of the information who published it, the Post reported....

posted by amberglow at 5:23 AM on July 15, 2005

Here's Kincaid's original column, all speculation

So, according to this, which it seems is now being spread around as truth, It was Miller. Sure.
posted by amberglow at 5:26 AM on July 15, 2005

Since you asked, amberglow, here's Miller theory (more) in another right-wing publication.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:45 AM on July 15, 2005

So, now i ask: Did they float this originally as one of many trial balloons, or did they, failing with their usual noise and spin, just pick it up from these sources and run with it, and we'll be hearing today that it's Miller?
posted by amberglow at 5:55 AM on July 15, 2005

I sincerely appreciate that the new story is all based on a single confidential source.
posted by smackfu at 6:33 AM on July 15, 2005

Political scandals always make me forget about Iraq, potholes, messed up schools, obsolete infrastructures, and... did a cloud of smoke just pass by? I lost my view for a moment.... .
posted by buzzman at 7:26 AM on July 15, 2005

Genius. Rove is simply a genius. I'm in awe. What better way to muddy the waters -- just keep everyone completely befuddled by masses of conflicting who said what to who now? stories until we get distracted by the next shiny thing. This (hopefully) won't affect the actual investigation, but as media manipulation this is just brilliant.

God, I wish he were playing for the good guys. I feel like I've been rooting for the Washington Generals for the past six years.
posted by ook at 7:34 AM on July 15, 2005

Wow, people might think Novak has some credibility but he doesn't. Rove is just as guilty as before, this is merely today's spin as the GOP scrambles to try and save Rove.

ook, you give him too much credit, if he were that bright then he wouldn't have gotten himself embroiled in this. All of this is damage control which, admittedly, he is very good at since he's had so much practice.
posted by fenriq at 7:54 AM on July 15, 2005

Novak spilled his guts to the jury in exchange for an immunity bath? Maybe. The "immunity for the fall guy" routine is an old Washington dodge, remember Ollie North?

But an immunity bath is only as good as the testimony. If Novak fudged on some key facts, then his immunity evaporates. This one is still boiling and I don't think we've really seen how the outcome is going to shape up yet.

*makes more popcorn*
posted by warbaby at 8:03 AM on July 15, 2005

I'd pay good money to see Novak rotting in jail.
posted by amberglow at 8:08 AM on July 15, 2005

one would think rove would be more embarrassed to admit that someone like bob novak has this kind of access
posted by troybob at 8:21 AM on July 15, 2005

You know, maybe it's genius. I think not. Nobody who isn't already a slavish sycophant to the administration is going to believe this bullshit.

Why? Because Rove's denied knowing anything for the last TWO FUCKING YEARS!

And now he's saying, oh...he told me! That's what it was! Yeah, that's the ticket!

Like Stewart said last night, it doesn't matter so much whether a crime was committed, or who actually spoke, it's the fact that they've been lying about it and covering it up.
posted by fungible at 8:24 AM on July 15, 2005

And the fact that outing a undercover CIA operative working in nuclear non-proliferation in the middle east is "fair play" for this administration
posted by Freen at 8:38 AM on July 15, 2005

Nobody needs to believe it, fungible; that's the brilliance of it. It's just chaff. From here on, instead of the story being a straightforward "Rove accused of leaking classified information," it'll be written up as some say this, others say that, unnamed sources disagree, until the average TV-news-watching American gives up any interest in untangling the story.

fenriq, I don't give him any credit at all as a policymaker; he's first and solely a master of spin. I can't count how many cliff-hanger scandals and disasters these people have managed to weasel their way out of.
posted by ook at 8:41 AM on July 15, 2005

Welp, I guess that's the end of it. All that money wasted on this silly investigation would have fed a lot of starving children.

Yeah. I kind of felt that way about Whitewater (which probably cost a lot more money than the Plame brouhaha has). I'm sure that lying about a blowjob under oath is far more offensive than jeopardizing American lives by burning an undercover CIA asset, though.
posted by the_bone at 8:43 AM on July 15, 2005

It looks like every time you remove a layer of shit in connection with this Administration, you only discover yet another layer of shit.

No wonder the political offensive at the top levels is led by a guy nicknamed "turd blossom".
posted by clevershark at 9:04 AM on July 15, 2005

John Solomon of Associated Press botches Rove story
"The Associated Press totally botched a rather significant part of the Rove-Plame story today.

Basically, AP is now supposedly quoting Wilson as saying his wife was NOT an undercover agent when Rove outed her. Here's what AP wrote today:
'But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her. "My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," he said.'
NO, AP, that's not what Wilson said....What he said was that the day Bob Novak outed his wife she ceased to be an undercover operative. Not that she wasn't an undercover operative on that day, but rather that she sure wasn't undercover anymore once Rove and Novak outed here. Big difference there."
posted by ericb at 9:29 AM on July 15, 2005

Well put!
“There's a point that's probably worth raising with our scofflaw Republican friends. All of their arguments now amount to excuses, like those of a small child caught stealing cookies: Joe Wilson's a liar. Plame's covert status wasn't protected well by the CIA. It was just a short phone call. Rove really wanted to speak about welfare reform. Wilson said Cheney sent him to Africa. Plame sent Wilson to Africa. Rove leaked Plame's identity in the interests of good journalism. Wilson went on too many TV shows. On and on and on.

The salient point is not that each of these claims is false. The point is that they're irrelevant. It's the mid-life version of 'He hit me first!' or 'He called me a name!' or other such foolery.

No presidential advisor should ever disclose the identity of a covert agent at the CIA. That doesn't require elaboration.

If it's done knowingly, it's a felony. Joe Wilson could be the biggest hack in the world. Plame could have cooked the whole trip idea up to damage the president -- as some GOP loopsters are now claiming -- and it wouldn't matter.

Rove (and, though we're not supposed to say it yet, several of his colleagues) did something obviously wrong and reckless. And they probably broke several laws by the time it was all done.

Pretty much every Republican in Washington today works for Karl Rove. So they can't deal with that fact. But fact it is.

And nothing was done amiss? If Rove et al. didn't do anything wrong, why have they spent two years lying about what they did? No law was broken? Then what is Fitzgerald looking at? Why is a grand jury investigating Rove? A prosecutor like Fitzgerald, a Republican appointee, wouldn't be throwing journalists in jail unless he thought he was investigating a serious crime.

What's their answer to that? They have none. Rove runs the Washington Republican party, owns it. So it's anything but hold him accountable.”
posted by ericb at 9:36 AM on July 15, 2005

Aside from spin, how does this really help Rove? If I tell you a state secret, the you tell someone else, I don't see how that absolves you of blame- we're just both guilty of the same crime.

I also love how his defense now is essentially that he was told a secret, so his first reaction is to tell the high school gossip queen.
posted by mkultra at 9:38 AM on July 15, 2005

"1. Rove claims he learned about Plame being CIA from other journalists and not from government sources. Even were that true, it's irrelevant to a senior government official leaking the name of a CIA agent - it doesn't matter how he found out. He knows better, and he flagrantly risked national security for petty revenge.

2. Rove now claims he confirmed for Novak that he heard Plame was CIA, but that Novak asked him about her CIA connections first. Again, irrelevant. He confirmed an undercover CIA agent to a journalist, is he mad? I mean, if a journalist said 'so, I hear we're invading Syria on August 15' would Rove respond, 'yeah I heard that too'? No, he wouldn't. This kind of journalist prying happens all the time. But Rove decided to answer this time, putting our national security at risk.

3. Matt Cooper's notes show that it was ROVE who offered Plame's CIA connection to TIME magazine, without any prompting from Matt Cooper. So, the Novak story is irrelevant either way. All the Novak story shows is that there's now a pattern of Rove outing Plame as CIA to numerous journalists.

4. The White House lied to the press corp and the American people for two years, saying that Rove had nothing to do with the leak, and he did.

5. President Bush said he'd fire the leaker, and now he's backing off of his own word.

Those are facts." [AMERICAblog | July 15, 2005]
posted by ericb at 9:40 AM on July 15, 2005

Welp, I guess that's the end of it. All that money wasted on this silly investigation would have fed a lot of starving children.
posted by republican at 11:17 PM PST on July 14 [!]

You realize that you didn't need to set up a parody metafilter account to mock Republicans, right? They do fine on their own.
posted by cmonkey at 9:42 AM on July 15, 2005

All that money wasted on this silly investigation would have fed a lot of starving children.

So would 1% of the defense budget.
posted by NickDouglas at 9:46 AM on July 15, 2005

Don't feed the troll.
posted by mkultra at 9:54 AM on July 15, 2005

Lies About Rove’s Involvement Continue
“Small observation. The story being spun by Rove’s surrogates this morning is totally inconsistent with the facts.

On Fox and Friends this morning, former Rove deputy Ken Mehlman said:
One article last weekend was an article in Newsweek, which I thought exonerated Karl Rove in many ways. What it said was Karl Rove was not leaking anybody’s name, he didn’t know that name.
That’s not true. The Newsweek article recounts a conversation between Rove and Time reporter Matt Cooper on July 11, 2003. According to the New York Times (which Mehlman also claims ‘exonerates’ Rove), Rove had a conversation with Robert Novak on July 8, 2003. Here is what happened during that conversation:
Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak’s account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: ‘I heard that, too.’
So, at a minimum, Rove knew Valerie Plame’s name no later than July 8. This is significant because everything we’ve heard from Rove and his surrogates for the last two years about this case has been a lie. And they haven’t stopped.”
posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on July 15, 2005

You know eric, if you just give us the link, then you don't need to cut and paste the whole article. It really takes up a lot of space and makes it harder to follow the thread of the discussion going on here (as opposed to other blogs). Please just give a link if you think something is interesting instead of cutting and pasting it. Thanks.
posted by dios at 10:02 AM on July 15, 2005

And Mehlman and Blitzer discussed (or rather Mehlman refused to discuss) the White House meetings where they decided what to do about Wilson. They were having meetings about it, but Rove didn't know his wife's name? Sure. As if.

Fitzgerald must have some good case if they're getting this desperate. And whatever they say or leak or spin will not affect the facts of those cases against Rove and whoever else it was in the administration--Libby? Cheney? Mehlman? Fleischer? Hughes? ...
posted by amberglow at 10:06 AM on July 15, 2005

"...what we're yet another impressive demonstration that these days, truth is political. One after another, prominent Republicans and conservative pundits have declared their allegiance to the party line. They haven't just gone along with the diversionary tactics, like the irrelevant questions about whether Mr. Rove used Valerie Wilson's name in identifying her (Robert Novak later identified her by her maiden name, Valerie Plame), or the false, easily refuted claim that Mr. Wilson lied about who sent him to Niger. They're now a chorus, praising Mr. Rove as a patriotic whistle-blower.

Ultimately, this isn't just about Mr. Rove. It's also about Mr. Bush, who has always known that his trusted political adviser - a disciple of the late Lee Atwater, whose smear tactics helped President Bush's father win the 1988 election - is a thug, and obviously made no attempt to find out if he was the leaker.

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?" [New York Times | July 15, 2005]
posted by ericb at 10:19 AM on July 15, 2005

FWIW, I like the quotes, ericb. Scrolling is easy and it's nice to get a taste without having to follow a link. Thanks.
posted by muckster at 10:30 AM on July 15, 2005

posted by amberglow at 11:00 AM on July 15, 2005

Novak's own statement contradicts story that HE told Rove about Plame, and not vice versa
"Today's big story is that Rove supposedly never gave Valerie Plame's name to Novak - but rather that Novak mentioned Plame was CIA and Rove said 'yeah I heard that too,' or something to that effect.

In fact, here's what Novak said in his first interview that we know of just after he leaked Plame's name in print:
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.'
Read that again. I didn't dig it out, it was given to me - they gave me the name. That does not jibe with Rove's anonymous buddy telling the NYT that it was Novak who first brought up Plame as CIA and NOT Rove."
posted by ericb at 11:01 AM on July 15, 2005

Please keep posting those paragraphs, Eric. You are doing a wonderful job of extracting the most important information and highlighting the soundbites. It's saving me a ton of time in keeping abreast of things.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:05 AM on July 15, 2005


We need to make sure that this story doesn't die. Call your senators.
posted by bshort at 11:22 AM on July 15, 2005

ericb : "Read that again. I didn't dig it out, it was given to me - they gave me the name. That does not jibe with Rove's anonymous buddy telling the NYT that it was Novak who first brought up Plame as CIA and NOT Rove."

Does not follow. Person A divulges to Novak, who blabs to Rove, who blabs to Cooper et al. No contradiction.
posted by daksya at 11:30 AM on July 15, 2005

A fifth in favor of the continued verbosity.
Hell, make it a litre, it'll help wash down all this popcorn.
posted by Floydd at 11:33 AM on July 15, 2005

Prez ex-flack lumped with Rove?
"The special prosecutor probing the outing of a CIA spy is looking beyond who leaked Valerie Plame's identity, seeking whether White House aides tried to cover their tracks after her name went public, sources told the Daily News.

Along with Bush political guru Karl Rove, the grand jury is investigating what role, if any, ex-White House mouthpiece Ari Fleischer may have played in the revelation that the former covert operative Plame was married to former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

‘Ari's name keeps popping up,’ said one source familiar with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's probe.

Another source close to the probe added there is renewed interest in Fleischer, ‘based on Fitzgerald's questions.’

….Another person of interest in the case is Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who was described as ‘totally obsessed with Wilson,’ the sources said."
[New York Daily News | July 15, 2005]
posted by ericb at 11:58 AM on July 15, 2005

"P.S. - Another possibility is that Rove wasn't one of the 'two administration officials' who told Novak about Plame. In that case, we've got two more, and not one more, Bush administration traitor on the loose." [AMERICAblog | July 15, 2005]
posted by ericb at 12:00 PM on July 15, 2005


'CNN changes Wilson story w/o comment '

I checked. Sure enough, Wilson's statement has been removed. Did the AP realize their mistake? Is the damage already done? (Seems the wingnuts are all a-flutter over this quote already anyhow, that it has been taken out of context won't matter one whit to them.)
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:13 PM on July 15, 2005

yeah, considering that they were saying it's an extremely short list of people that had access to the information (i.e. someone in the White House), and we know Rove was in on it, well then yeah, if this is true it just means there's even more bad guys in the White House.

good Lord, this spin machine is spinning like 60! what kind of message is it sending?
posted by 31d1 at 12:15 PM on July 15, 2005

Leak Speak: The Grand Jury Finale
"The Mikes McCurry and Isikoff lately have said in public what's been annoying journalists in private all over town for months: For all the trouble we're going through to make Scott McClellan quiver like last night's Jell-o, the investigation at the center of the Rove-Plame-Cooper-Miller-Novak shitstorm had better deliver a smoking gun or at the very least some anal-oral contact. We would think the act of talking to Novak would qualify on that last point, but you are free to disagree. We asked Wonkette's own Fred Becker -- who has a side interest in grand jury investigations -- what he makes of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
My Dearest Wonktilda,

One thing I know is that Ken Starr will be really happy if Fitzgerald goes through all this--interviewing the president, putting journalists in jail-- and then doesn't have dick. Ken Starr had dick, semen, the whole shebang. Well, not the shebang, depending on your definition of 'bang.'

The mythmakers say Fitzgerald's really good and thorough but prosecutorial discretion is also part of being good. So does he have that trick in his hat or is he just a guy with a hard on and a subpoena? Time for someone to write a story that says not since Babe Ruth pointed at the fence has a person set himself up for a put up or shut up moment. Of course, the pressure has become so great that when Fitzgerald does deliver something into the slow summer news period, the media is going to go ape shit over pretty much anything.

Btw, Daily Show had excellent excellent Jonathan Klein mocking the other night. He is a vastly silly man in competitive undershorts.

That's all I have to say on the matter at the moment. For all of the fuss I remain,

Your irritated scribbler,
posted by ericb at 12:16 PM on July 15, 2005

As I said in earlier discussions: This is starting to look like a "keep your eyes on the Rove" strategy. While he may have had a significant part, the only reason that this posture makes sense is if it is the lesser of two evils - in other words: If you take a moment to look beyond. Rove you will see even bigger fish that were a part of this.

You watch. Scooter/Cheney will be implicated yet. (And Cheney will have some sort of medical event - real or manufactured, which will be helpful in garnering sympathy (from some quarters).

I can't help but think that Colin Powell (who testified before the Grand Jury) could be helpful in shedding more light on all of this (the information war to start the war on fictitious grounds). His performance before the UN was a big part of that.
posted by spock at 12:58 PM on July 15, 2005

spock - I think you're right. Brings to mind what Will Femia wrote today at Clicked:
"Billmon laments the digression:
The GOP noise machine appears to be having some success with its smear Joe Wilson campaign -- if only because so many lefties are now talking about that and not about how many White House officials are going to be indicted along with Karl Rove.
But the popularity of Daniel Schorr's essay (text or audio), saying that the Rove leak is part of a larger scandal of deception leading up to the war, makes me think that liberals are not being tricked into talking about Wilson, but rather are going there willingly with an eye on taking the next step of initiating a pubic discussion about how the case for war was made. A case, they often argue, that was woefully under-scrutinized by the media and public at large when it was initially made."
posted by ericb at 1:18 PM on July 15, 2005

I'm wondering when someone is going to be dead from all this. These guys have endangered the nation by outing a long-standing CIA business front and the CIA's al-Queda mole. Anyone that would do that wouldn't hesitate to kill.

Contact your state representatives -- democrat and republican!

Contact the media and tell them you want to see real investigative reporting!

There is something deeply amiss in the Adminstration. The safety of the US depends on rooting out the creeps who are putting the nation at risk.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:33 PM on July 15, 2005

Question: how is it that Novak isn't being tried for treason? It seems pretty clear-cut that he helped out an agent. Doesn't that call for severe penalties? How the hell can he be allowed to get away with it?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:34 PM on July 15, 2005

Is it just my imagination, or does Bob Novak bear a strong resemblance to a gila monster?
posted by spock at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2005

James Carville on CNN's "Inside Politics" (transcript likely up later) just brought up the point that it is most likely that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is focused on issues way beyond merely looking to find out who leaked what to whom.

Carville also pointed out that -- unlike the Special Prosecution investigations of Gingrich and Clinton -- Fitzgerald has been running a "tight ship" (e.g. not speaking with or leaking to reporters - as happened under Starr's investigation of Clinton) and is being very methodical in his investigation. We can only infer what direction he is taking by the little clues that we so desperately are trying to interpret. This does remind us that it is only speculation as to what he is up to.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on July 15, 2005

Heck, the Wilson/Plame/Novak/Rove Affair may only be one building block of a greater investigation into the strategy and tactics of lying in order to justify going to war with Iraq.

One can only hope that Fitzgerald is taking stock of the Downing Street Memo, etc. and is laying groundwork for a far larger indictment. What a way to make your career. This generations Woodward and Bernstein. (One can only wish!)
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on July 15, 2005

posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on July 15, 2005

"One can only hope that Fitzgerald is taking stock of the Downing Street Memo, etc. and is laying groundwork for a far larger indictment."

Amen! If this happens, I will seriously have trouble remaining an atheist.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 2:04 PM on July 15, 2005

This is interesting...Congressman John Conyers writes this afternoon:
"Next weekend, eight other members will join me in holding a series of town hall meetings to commemorate the third anniversary of the Downing Street Minutes. We are beginning to see the pieces fit together, and I believe these hearings will illustrate how Rove-gate fits into the larger narrative of the Iraq war deception."
posted by ericb at 2:14 PM on July 15, 2005

Dump Rove / The Investigation Moves Closer To The President
"As the Valerie Plame case becomes increasingly the Karl Rove case, and as the rising water of it begins to lap closer to President Bush, there are several truths about this matter that are worth keeping in mind.
1. In the very beginning Mr. Bush said that it was unlikely that the leaker would ever be found. There is every reason to believe that he would then have taken steps to make that true.

2. It is now clear that presidential adviser Karl Rove did discuss Valerie Plame with reporters, however those discussions are now being described or construed. Mr. Bush said he would fire anyone in the White House who did that.

3. The concept of nailing someone (Valerie Plame, the CIA agent) for what her spouse may have done is unforgivably retrograde in 2005. (Ms. Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, is the former ambassador who said that President Bush's State of the Union claim that Iraq had bought uranium was false.)

4. ‘Outing’ a CIA agent is clearly a national security affair. The Bush administration allegedly regards national security very seriously. Mr. Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, was head of the CIA in 1976-77, so there is reason to believe the current president takes the CIA seriously.

5. As a matter of national security, this is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. Former Clinton security adviser Samuel R. ‘Sandy’ Berger was nailed for having pilfered classified documents and thus eliminated from presidential candidate John Kerry's prospective list of candidates for secretary of state.

6. Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has not yet sung. He is supposed to be a tough prosecutor. That may mean that, however much slippin' and slidin' Karl Rove has in mind, Mr. Fitzgerald may have too much integrity to get rolled by the likes of him.

7. This isn't Watergate, however much Democrats may be licking their chops at the thought of Bush having to choose between loyalty to his friend and a long drubbing on the subject.
In any case, Watergate should serve as an educative experience for any president.

Given that Mr. Bush definitely has other things to do with his time -- starting with the Iraq war -- this is probably the time to just take a deep breath and fire Karl Rove now, before this goes any further. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | July 15, 2005]

posted by ericb at 2:31 PM on July 15, 2005

". . . this is probably the time to just take a deep breath and fire Karl Rove now, before this goes any further."

The problem with that logic is that it is going further regardless. Even if Bush fired Rove today and the public/media frenzy settled down, Fitzgerald's investigation will continue its march for the truth. Bush and company will likely be "distracted" long after he actually files his indictments.
posted by spock at 2:46 PM on July 15, 2005

Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, was head of the CIA in 1976-77, so there is reason to believe the current president takes the CIA seriously.

I can't agree with that. The current president is responsible for an en masse retirement of top CIA officials, which indicates to me that he's all about destroying the CIA, not respecting it.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:23 PM on July 15, 2005

Very much worth reading - Taking a Leak.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on July 15, 2005

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Fire Karl Rove" Video.
posted by ericb at 3:32 PM on July 15, 2005

Debunking the "Rove heard it from a journalist" lie
"The latest lie being floated by Karl Rove and the GOP machine is that 'Rove claims he learned about Plame being CIA from other journalists and not from government sources.' Of course, the Republicans think that this will exonerate their new hero.

It will not. As a matter of fact, it only goes to show this White House as being WORSE on National Security.

If it were true, that a senior White House aide heard from a journalist about a person who was CIA, then wouldn't the following steps have taken place?
1. Rove should have immediately informed the reporter or reporters that discussing the identity of a CIA agent may be illegal.

2. Rove should have then called George Tenet and inquired about whether or not the agent was undercover.

3. Upon learning the undercover status of said agent, Rove should have then told Tenet to quickly alert the agent and inform them that their cover had been blown.

4. Rove should have then turned over the names of the reporters to the CIA for investigation.
NONE of the above four actions took place. Had Rove actually heard Plame's name from the media, this is EXACTLY what Rove should have done."
posted by ericb at 3:41 PM on July 15, 2005

CNN: Lou Dobbs -- "That's Bullshit"
"This was amazing. At 6:13 pm [Friday, July 15, 2005] if you TiVo, check out Lou Dobbs.
....'testimony suggests that President Bush's political advisor may not have been the original source of the Valerie Plame leak. Rove testified that he first learned about Plame from columnist Robert Novak. Dana Bash reports" Then a whispered voice says on air! "THAT's BULLSHIT"'
WOW, someone at CNN knows the truth."
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on July 15, 2005

cavalier: When the heck will a major media source say "OMG STFU you're playing word games you political worm "Wilson's wife" is the same as "name" and you knew that you dirty rotten scoundrel."

He's very careful not to pass judgement on Rove, but David Lazarus makes essentially the same point in his column today:
I now had the identity of a covert CIA agent (who was using her maiden name as part of her cover as an energy-industry analyst working for a firm called Brewster Jennings & Associates, now known to be a CIA front company).

It took me less than a half-hour to identify her.


And I now possess all this information simply because I know (from Karl Rove, via Matt Cooper) that Joseph Wilson's wife "apparently works at the agency on WMD issues."
posted by Aster at 4:35 PM on July 15, 2005

I'll be starting every day now watching CNN and waiting for Shrub to fire the Special Prosecutor...
posted by clevershark at 5:34 PM on July 15, 2005

NYT: State Dept. Memo Gets Scrutiny in Leak Inquiry on C.I.A. Officer

Great coverage on Democracy Now! tonight. I don't think I've ever seen Amy Goodman looking happy before.
posted by muckster at 8:51 PM on July 15, 2005

Now - this is interesting -- Did Fleischer testify that Bush knew of leak? Is that why Tenet quit?
posted by ericb at 12:09 PM on July 16, 2005

Who put the Plame in the Plame leak?
"...the published leak of "the name 'Valerie Plame' ... conveyed an intent to damage her covert stemmed from sheer antipathy towards the CIA:
Having learned (by accident or through research) that Valerie Wilson used her maiden name when she worked overseas as a covert operative, Libby (or whoever) decides to pass her information along that way. It doesn't really add to the damage caused by the leak -- interested foreign parties could probably have figured it out for themselves, given the tipoff that Joseph Wilson was married to a CIA agent -- but it just serves as a raised middle finger to the CIA, a way to taunt them while pursuing the White House's political ends.
....Given th[e] hard proof that Valerie Wilson was working under her married name (and presumably had been for a few years), it's hard to imagine an innocent reason for forcing her maiden name into the press reports....whoever gave the name 'Plame' to Robert Novak and Matt Cooper had to know that it was the name Valerie Wilson used in her undercover work for the CIA -- meaning that they were intentionally exposing a covert CIA operative."

posted by ericb at 12:27 PM on July 16, 2005

It appears that discussion of RoveGate has migrated to this MetaFilter thread.
posted by ericb at 5:05 PM on July 17, 2005

It would appear that this is a Pseudo-Scandal that will drive the Bush-haters further into irrelevancy.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:13 AM on July 18, 2005

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