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Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story

Raw Story was the first to report that Bloomberg News was going to break a story saying Karl Rove and Lewis Libby may have lied to the grand jury. The upshot is that these Administration officials may have lied about where they first heard of Valerie Plame - claiming they heard it from reporters when they did not. In other words, they may have used the reporters as shields, to avoid disclosing they learned it from either a classified document or someone in the Government.

Lewis “Scooter'’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

Think Progress was the first to get the actual article text of the article, which appears below. Murray Waas was the first to break the story yesterday.

Rove, Libby Accounts in CIA Case Differ With Those of Reporters

By Richard Keil

July 22 (Bloomberg) — Two top White House aides have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to persons familiar with the case. Lewis “Scooter'’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.

These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.

The CIA requested the inquiry after Novak’s July 14, 2003, article that said Plame recommended her husband for a 2002 mission to check into reports Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Wilson, in a July 6 column in the New York Times, said the Bush administration “twisted” some of the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons to justify the war.

Robert Luskin, Rove’s attorney, said today that Rove did tell the grand jury “he had not heard her name before he heard it from Bob Novak.'’ He declined in an interview to comment on whether Novak’s account of their conversation differed from Rove’s.

There also is a discrepancy between accounts given by Rove and Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. The White House aide mentioned Wilson’s wife — though not by name — in a July 11, 2003 conversation with Cooper. Rove says that Cooper called him to talk about welfare reform and the Wilson connection was mentioned later in passing.

Cooper wrote in Time magazine last week that he told the grand jury that he never discussed welfare reform with Rove in that call. The leak case shows that administration officials have in effect been using reporters as shields by claiming that the information on Plame first came from them.

One reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, has been jailed on contempt of court charges for refusing to testify before the grand jury about her reporting on the Plame case. Cooper testified only after Time Inc. said it would comply with Fitzgerald’s demands for Cooper’s notes and reporting on the Plame matter, particularly regarding his dealings with Rove.

Libby didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. The various accounts of conversations between Rove, Libby and reporters come as new details emerge about a classified State Department memorandum that’s also at the center of Fitzgerald’s probe.

A memo by the department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) included Plame’s name in a paragraph marked “(S)'’ for `Secret,’ a designation that should have indicated to anyone who read it that the information was classified, the Washington Post reported yesterday.

The memo, prepared July 7, 2003, for Secretary of State Colin Powell, is a focus of Fitzgerald’s interest, according to individuals who have testified before the grand jury and attorneys familiar with the case. The three-page document said that Wilson had been recommended for a CIA-sponsored trip to Africa by his wife, Valerie Wilson, who worked on the CIA’s counter-proliferations desk.

In his New York Times article, Wilson said there was no basis to conclude that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear material in Africa and that the administration had exaggerated the evidence. Bush had said in his State of the Union message in January, 2003 that Iraq was trying to purchase nuclear materials in Africa.

The memo summarizing the Plame-Wilson connection was provided to Powell as he left with President George W. Bush on a five-day trip to Africa. Fitzgerald is exploring whether other White House officials who accompanied Bush may have gained access to the memo and shared its contents with officials back in Washington. Rove and Libby didn’t accompany Bush to Africa.

One key to the inquiry is when White House aides knew of Wilson’s connection to Plame and whether they learned about it through this memo or other classified information. Some Bush allies were hopeful that the Fitzgerald investigation, which dominated the news in Washington for the first part of July, would subside as the focus now is on Bush’s nomination of Judge John Roberts to fill the first vacancy on the Supreme Court in 11 years. Yet special prosecutor Fitzgerald, not media coverage, will determine the outcome of this investigation.

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  • Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#1)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    The leak case shows that administration officials have in effect been using reporters as shields...
    Dear reporters: Lie down with dogs...

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#2)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    I'm shocked, simply shocked. Jim said they have nothing to hide! Say it ain't so, Turd Blossom. Say it ain't so!

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    What do you mean MAY have lied?

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#4)
    by jarober on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    I note that you don't consider the other possibility: The reporters are lying. Or, even a third: Given the way memory works, everyone could believe they are correct in their recollections. I have friends who consistently misremember details. Leave it to TL to not consider any of that...

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM EST
    JR has a point! Also, I bet that when Karl Rove said Valerie Plane was "fair game" he merely meant she was a very attractive woman who was good at chess and backgammon. Better give him the benefit of the doubt!

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Posted by James Robertson: "Leave it to TL to not consider any of that..." No, that's for the Courts to consider, in great detail. And when the facts finally become unavoidable, James, which way will you be running then? Knowingly harboring of a traitor for TWO YEARS -- is that a bl*wjob yet?

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#7)
    by jarober on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    So Paul, if I asked you for specific details of an arbitrary conversation you had in 2003, you would have all the details completely accurate? There's no possibility that any of the people you spoke to on the occasion in question might remember some details differently? Memory is imperfect. It's amazing how the political class - left and right - assumes malice and lying when there's a far simpler explanation. Think of all the wasted time during the Clinton administration - most of the "lying" was probably poor recollection. Ditto this instance. The only difference? Whose ox is being gored.

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Give me a frig’n break JR! “details of an arbitrary conversation”, these slime buckets are involved in and discussing matters that effect the fate of the entire planet. Arbitrary conversation indeed!?! “Think of all the wasted time during the Clinton administration - most of the "lying" was probably poor recollection.” What a load! Speaking of wasted time, do you think Rove/Libby might have saved us all a lot of time and money if they could have kick started their ageing brains and come up w/ some details on the Plame outing two years ago? Done nothing wrong? Have nothing to hide? Step up, be a man, and level w/ the people. Not in a million years. It is so painfully obvious that these soulless political operators are in CYA mode. Not to mention the larger pattern of deceit and the web of lies that surround the US occupation of Iraq.

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    "So Paul, if I asked you for specific details of an arbitrary conversation you had in 2003, you would have all the details completely accurate?" The difference, and this is what will likely land Rove in jail, is that reporters are in the business of recording what people say. In Cooper's case, he was calling for info on a story. So in doing his job he kept copious notes. I'd say the defense that Cooper, Miller, Novak, and whatever other reporters Rove practiced his treason on, are victim's of "faulty memory" will get guffaws from jurors as Rove puts on the orange jumpsuit. You need something better.

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#10)
    by jarober on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    BooBear, I'll repeat the question to you - let's say that I pick an arbirary conversation from 2003, one which, for some reason, I think is important. It happens to be one that - at the time - you didn't place a lot of importance on. Exactly how many details are you going to remember? I'd warrant that the answer is "not a lot"

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#11)
    by Quaker in a Basement on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Thanks, James, for letting us know what the next revision of the Rove Excuse will look like: "Uh, I forgot."

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Your questions is meaningless JR. The # of arbitrary conversations that I've had that involve matters of nat'l security or debunking critics of my dubious plans for war are zilch. Were I involved in such things, I suspect that the details might acctually make in impression. Are you trying to make a point? If so, what exactly is it?

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Bottom line: The adminsrations recation to all of this, when it was still fresh in their memories, was to lie. Crime or no crime (I'm content to sit back and watch as Fitzgerald figures that one out.), Rove and others chose to lie about their involovement at the time, Bush/Chaney chose to not confront their lies, and now are refusing to hold them accountable.

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    Posted by James Robertson: "Memory is imperfect." Regrettably, our harddrives and printouts and MOUNTAIN of evidence, just don't forget. That's the great thing about having the tape of Bush coming out TWO YEARS AGO saying he was on the hunt. He can't find Bin Laden, that's odd. He can't find ROVE? That ain't about whose 'ox' is being gored. That's protecting felons and traitors. How about Bush harboring Carriles, who we KNOW, who has ADMITTED, shooting down a civilian airliner. How's he enjoying his vacation in the States, where he snuck in with the help of Jeb Bush and his Miami wingnut backers? Can't remember, James?

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#16)
    by jarober on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:31 PM EST
    I suppose it's asking too much for any of you to notice that Cooper has stated - both publically and to the Grand Jury - that he did not get Plame's name from Rove. Which leaves us with only one actual question - what source is Miller protecting, and why?

    Re: Bloomberg Scoops New Rove Story (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:34 PM EST
    Fitzgerald may turn out to be a thorough and tenacious prosecutor. Could be Rove and Libby's worst nightmare. Maybe they should have taken the 5th from the get-go rather than lie to the grand jury and face a perjury felony charge that might be easier to prove than the charge they were trying to avoid. Book'm Danno.