Leopold: Bush, Cheney, Rove And Others Met on Wilson

Jason Leopold has a new Valerie Plame article today with allegations that directly conflict with what an Administration official told the New York Times yesterday. Jason writes:

In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

Then later,

Throughout the second half of June, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, and senior officials from Cheney's office kept Bush updated about the progress of the campaign to discredit Wilson via numerous emails and internal White House memos, these sources said, adding that some of these documents were only recently turned over to the special counsel.

Background on the newly turned over documents is here.It has been reported by Larisa at Raw Story that these documents were provided by Karl Rove to Fitzgerald in his latest bid to avoid indictment or jail.

So is this why Andy Card resigned so suddenly? Did Rove throw him under the bus as well in leading Fitz to the meeting and previously undisclosed e-mails and documents?

Leopold writes his information comes from "attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. "

.... The attorneys and officials close to the case said over the weekend that the hastily arranged meeting was called by Cheney to "brief the president" on Wilson's increasing public criticism about the White House's use of the Niger intelligence and the negative impact it would eventually have on the administration's credibility if the public and Congress found out it was true, the sources said.

....The revelation .... suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Leopold suggests Fitzgerald doesn't care much about Bush's non-disclosures, even though,

According to four attorneys who last week read a transcript of President Bush's interview with investigators, Bush did not disclose to the special counsel that he was aware of any campaign to discredit Wilson. Bush also said he did not know who, if anyone, in the White House had retaliated against the former ambassador by leaking his wife's undercover identity to reporters.

Two questions I have after reading Leopold's latest: Where is John Hannah in all this? Is Stephen Hadley a target or a cooperating witness? What will Karl Rove finally get out of all of this, a pass or a plea to a lesser charge?

Background on the White House Iraq Group is here.

Playing in the background right now: Bob Dylan, "But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked."

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