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Rove Didn't Go to Africa, Not On Air Force One

The AP article detailing Rove's e-mail to Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley I just wrote about also has this piece of information:

Rove sent the e-mail shortly before leaving the White House early for a family vacation that weekend, already aware that another journalist he had talked with, syndicated columnist Robert Novak, was planning an article about Plame and Wilson.

Rove also knew that then-CIA Director George Tenet planned later that same day to issue a dramatic statement that took responsibility for some bad Iraq intelligence but that also called into question.

Rove spoke to Novak on July 8 and Cooper on July 11. Tenet's statement was released July 11. Bush left for Africa on July 7, 2003 and returned on July 12. [typo in year corrected]

Fitzgerald supboenaed the telephone records of Air Force One between July 7 and 12 - the period of the Africa trip. So clearly, Rove wasn't on the trip or the plane - and it's not Rove's conversations while he was on board Air Force One that Fitzgerald was after.

[Note: It also makes sense that Rove was on a family vacation because I have not been able to find a single article on Lexis quoting him or stating his whereabouts since some July 4 comments about Howard Dean until after Bush's return from Africa.]

The Chicago Tribune (March 5, 2004, scroll down) reported on the subpoenas and the fact that the White House has refused to release the names of those on the Africa trip to the media. News reports have put Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Ari Fleisher and Andrew Card on the trip. Also, there were three planes that went on the trip: Air Force One, a second plane with reporters and other White House officials, and a third plane.

Whose conversations on Air Force One was Fitzgerald after? Here are some news reports with details of those on the Africa trip and the planes. There seems to have been some plane-changing at different stops among officials between Air Force One and the second plane:

an African newspaper account on July 8, 2003:

His inner-circle of confidants is also accompanying him on the tour. They include Foreign Secretary Colin Powell, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff at the Whitehouse Andrew Card and Deputy Foreign Secretary for Africa Walter Kansteiner.

It also has this little detail:

The White House communication agency will ensure that the president has secure communication channels available, even high up in the clouds on Air Force One.

Knights-Ridder reported on March 6, 2004 (See Akron Beacon Journal for example, available on Lexis.com )reported that only very senior White House officials have access to the secure communications channels on Air Force One.

The document requests indicate the investigation is focused on high-level White House aides because only they would have access to the secure phone lines on Air Force One.

This article says there were 76 aboard, including 26 crew members.

Michael Isikoff said on CNN's Inside Politics on July 11, 2005 (transcript on Lexis.com):

What we do know is there was a classified State Department report that said this, that was taken by Secretary of State Powell with him on the trip to Africa that President Bush was then on, and many senior White House aides were on....That classified State Department report appears to have been -- or may well have been the source for the information that Rove and others were then dishing out to reporters. And if that's the case, there still may be -- we don't know yet, but there still may be an instance where classified information was provided to reporters.

But note, American Prospect reported in 2004 that the classified State Department Report Colin Powell brought along was about North Korea.

From Lexis.com

  • Times Newspapers Limited, July 13, 2003,

Bush flew into Pretoria on Air Force One but a second jumbo jet carried Powell, Kansteiner and 300 other administration officials and staff.

  • Sunday Times (South Africa) July 13, 2003,

Rice had not been with Bush and Powell when they stepped off Air Force One the night before.

  • Africa News July 12, 2003 Saturday,

US President George W. Bush arrived in Uganda on Friday for a four-hour visit during which he held talks with President Yoweri Museveni.... Air Force One, the US presidential plane, touched down at Entebbe International Airport at around 1:50pm. Bush's all imposing plane, complete with the seal of the US presidency on it, landed following a United Airlines advance plane carrying journalists and some of his security team. A third plane kissed the tarmac shortly before Airforce One.

So, it may not be Rove who's in Fitzgerald's cross-hairs. We may be back to Cheney's staff, Libby and other members of the White House Iraq group. And Judith Miller may have some information to shed on that. One of them may have testfied to the grand jury they spoke to her.

< Rove E-Mailed Hadley About Conversation With Cooper | Classified Memo Naming Wilson's Wife Was on Air Force One >
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  • Rove claims that Cooper called him. I thought that sounded wrong if Rove was in Africa at the time. But if he wasn't, then its possible. Oh well :(

    Re: Rove Didn't Go to Africa, Not On Air Force One (none / 0) (#2)
    by Mreddieb on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:17 PM EST
    There is one person who set atop the pyramid. I wonder if this will lead to the Liar in chief himself. Has anyone to date investigated Powell's roll in this, if any? The plot stinkens!

    Re: Rove Didn't Go to Africa, Not On Air Force One (none / 0) (#3)
    by ding7777 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:19 PM EST
    Just because Rove wasn't on AF1,he still could have talked to someone on board.

    Sure he could have, all I said was "it's not Rove's conversations while he was on board Air Force One that Fitzgerald was after." So that still leaves who was talking on a White House One secure telephone. Ari Fleischer?