Sourcing Karl Rove's Latest Version

Karl Rove's latest version of his role in the Plame investigation is contained in this Los Angeles Times article by Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger.

Lawyers familiar with the case believe these e-mails were one element of a broad, eleventh-hour review of evidence — coupled with negotiations by Rove's lawyers — that led Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald not to include him in Friday's action.

"In the normal back-and-forth between prosecutor and defense attorneys, some issues were raised that made the prosecutor step back and have pause for thought as far as his future activities," a source close to Rove said. "He thought, 'This is enough for me to hold off making decisions.'"

The article continues to describe the last minute interview with Adam Levine as an indicator that Fitzgerald may now believe Rove just had a faulty memory in failing to tell investigators or the grand jury intially about his July 11 conversation with Time Reporter Matt Cooper. My post about the Levine interview is here.

These reporters have reported on the case several times, using sources referred to as "Rove associates" or people familiar with Rove's perspective.

It's no surprise that people leak and spin to reporters they know and trust. I have mentioned before that I think former Republican National Committee counsel Ben Ginsberg is a likely source of the Rove camp's agenda. He is a partner at Patton Boggs with Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin. It was Ginsberg that referred Rove to Luskin in the first instance. The Recorder (subscription required)reported:

Luskin met Rove through a referral from Patton Boggs partner Benjamin Ginsberg, a legal adviser to the Bush-Cheney campaign who in August 2004 resigned after revealing that he had also advised the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that sought to discredit John Kerry's military record.

Ginsberg also represented the Bush campaign in the 2000 Florida election recount battle. My post on his resignation due to his involvement with the Swift Boaters is here.

In August, 2004, when Ginsberg resigned as outside counsel to the Bush campaign, Rove came to Ginsberg's defense. On August 25, 2004, in an interview with Fox New's Brit Hume, Rove said (available on lexis.com):

What Ben Ginsberg, he's a great friend to this president and has been with him since he began to run for president in 1999, did was resigned from the Bush campaign in order to remove any possibility of being a distraction to his friend. He wants to see the president reelected.

He knows that there's a hypocritical double standard on the part of some in the media, where a lawyer for the Bush campaign who is also the lawyer for a 527 is somehow suspect, where a lawyer for the Kerry campaign or the Democratic National Committee, who's also a lawyer for a 527 group is not. And he accepted that reality and decided he wanted to help his friend. And the best way he could help his friend is resign.

In 2000, Peter Wallsten was a reporter in Florida for the Miami Herald who covered the election story. He left the Herald in 2004 to become a White House correspondent for the LA Times. Hotline reported on April 13, 2004:

One of the Miami Herald's chief political reporters, Peter
Wallsten, has left the Miami Herald to become one of the L.A.
Times' three WH correspondents, where he'll be focusing mostly
on politics. Sadly for him, his personal dateline moves from
South Beach to DC. Taking over many of Wallsten's political
reporting duties at the Herald will be Lesley Clark (Hotline
reporting, 4/13).

Wallsten is an excellent, award winning reporter. And assuming I'm correct, there's nothing wrong with Ginsberg promoting Karl Rove's versions anonymously to Wallsten or other reporters. But since bloggers are parsing every word we see in the MSM about RoveGate, and the public accepts much of what it reads as fact, even when the source is anonymous, I think it's worth pointing out that Ginsberg might be a source of the information.

Especially when I see a sentence like this:

Rove associates said Friday there was never any talk of plea deals, and that his lawyers remained convinced that he broke no laws.

I remain skeptical of that claim, to say the least.

< Will Libby Exercise His Right to a Trial? | ND Town Leaders Prefer Fighting to Stripping >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Sourcing Karl Rove's Latest Version (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    These reporters have reported on the case several times, using sources referred to as "Rove associates" or people familiar with Rove's perspective.
    All of which reminds me that blogs can also suffer the same problems as MSM. During the past week, I have seen on blogs (not necessarily this one) reporting that there would be up to 19 indictments, that there would be from 1-5 indictments with it likely being at the high end, and other stories that ultimately didn't pan out. Now, I know because Judy reminded us that a reporter is only as good as her sources. Sometimes, however, stories get passed along in the blogosphere that must have simply been made up out of whole cloth: 19 indictments, for example. TL has done a good job of piecing together conclusions from known facts and making informed speculation from there, but speculation is always so labeled. I don't think other writers have always been so careful, however, and maybe we should all take note of that as a problem in this medium.

    Re: Sourcing Karl Rove's Latest Version (none / 0) (#2)
    by MikeDitto on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:31 PM EST
    I think anonymous sources actually carry more weight than named sources because the motives of an anonymous source are rarely questioned, whereas the motives of a named source are (rightly or wrongly) inferred just based on the identity of the source. I think most of Washington has figured that out. I just wish the press would.

    Re: Sourcing Karl Rove's Latest Version (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:32 PM EST
    There is no way to end the use of anonymous sources in Washington, I agree. The game has gone on for so long, and the people so good at it that it is a permanent fixture of our politics. Somehow, however, the "incestuous journalism" bothers me. It bothers me to see a #$%$ like Cheney arrange a "leak" to Judy, which is then printed in the NYT, and then go on TV and justify himself by citing the same NYT story he just created. There is a degree of duplicity that makes me cringe. In our little world, I think it is dangerous to post things like "XYZ over at blog.com is reporting...." if the facts haven't been checked somehow.

    Re: Sourcing Karl Rove's Latest Version (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:33 PM EST
    Yeah, well, graph, Howard Dean referenced this issue two years ago, when he pointed out that SECRECY BREEDS CONSPIRACY THEORIES, and that's why most government secrecy is bad policy, because it encourages rumors which becomes beliefs and 'facts.' Of course, when dealing with the secrecy of conspirators, all bets are off. Alex, I'll take "Bush Fellates Stallions" for $200.