Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology Over Rove Article

Tim Grieves at Salon does an excellent job today interviewing Marc Ash at Truthout about why he only issued a partial apology for Jason Leopold's article last Saturday stating sources had told him Rove had been indicted.

Marc's partial apology stated:

The time has now come, however, to issue a partial apology to our readership for this story. While we paid very careful attention to the sourcing on this story, we erred in getting too far out in front of the news-cycle. In moving as quickly as we did, we caused more confusion than clarity. And that was a disservice to our readership and we regret it. As such, we will be taking the wait-and-see approach for the time being. We will keep you posted.

Tim spoke to Marc afterwards and reports:

So is Truthout saying that Jason Leopold's reporting was wrong? We put that question to Ash this morning, and his answer seemed to be a pretty unequivocal no. Although Rove's lawyer and his spokesman have both said that Leopold's story was false, Ash said that Truthout still believes that Patrick Fitzgerald, Karl Rove and Rove lawyer Robert Luskin participated in a 15-hour plea-negotiation session at Patton Boggs last Friday; that Fitzgerald gave Rove's lawyers a copy of an indictment charging Rove with perjury and lying to investigators; and that Fitzgerald told Rove's lawyers that their client had 24 hours -- or 24 business hours -- to get his affairs in order.

In other words, Truthout is apologizing because the announcement didn't come by Friday, as Jason had speculated it would. Jason, in his article, wrote:

An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the special prosecutor was unavailable for comment. In the past, Samborn said he could not comment on the case.

Tim also reports Marc said Truthout will wait for official confirmation of a Rove indictment before commenting further:

Ash said that Truthout needs to "cool down the reactor a little bit" as it tries to learn more about the "cycle" on which Fitzgerald's legal team is working. "We're not in a position to continue on without an official confirmation," he said. "Unless we get some official confirmation, we're going to look stupider and stupider."

I think waiting for official confirmation is a good idea. No one knows what Fitzgerald is going to do until he does it. He keeps his cards too close to the vest ...appropriately. For all we know, Rove isn't going to get indicted at all and the sources pushing the story have an alternative, self-serving agenda.

Just to be clear, my purpose in writing about Rove and the Plame leaks investigation is not to root for Rove's indictment, although I know many TalkLeft readers are hoping for it. What I care about, if Rove is indicted, is whether he turned down a plea deal and why, whether he is cooperating against others in exchange for a lesser sentence or reduced charges and who else has cooperated in this investigation in exchange for favorable treatment of their own misdeeds. I'm also interested in whether Fitzgerald's ultimate target is Dick Cheney and whether Cheney will be "Official A" in any Rove indictment.

But I'm content now to wait until there are new details to report, rather than re-hashing last week's news, true or false, for the fifth or sixth time.

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    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#1)
    by Teresa on Sat May 20, 2006 at 07:08:26 PM EST
    I can wait too. I guess this means that Jason still believes in his sources and won't out them.

    I think that's correct.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#3)
    by jazzcattg1 on Sat May 20, 2006 at 07:24:32 PM EST
    Too much conflicting info/are these denials going to go on and on from Leopold and Company? Leopold went on Air America (Ed Schultz) and promised that every thing, including the time line was true. There was a promise to out the sources and the veterinarian that treated Gold Bars Luskin's cat. It is time to hold the press accountable, even Truthout.

    TL, thou doth protest too much.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#5)
    by mjvpi on Sat May 20, 2006 at 07:41:19 PM EST
    This whole issue will end in a series of pardons. The closer the fireworks are to the 2006 elections, the greater the chance for our country to make the best of it. Iran/Contra is the model.

    Jeralyn, I AM rooting for a Rove indictment. . .for this reason: Up until this time, watching Bush and company has been a lot like watching Gotti's bunch. . .you know they're doing things wrong, but you just can't seem to get enough on them to pin 'em down. They're doing things that are imperling this country for years to come. . .and we appear to be powerless to do anything about it. I guess I can say I'm frustrated. . .but hopeful this November. . .

    Thanks for covering this story. Other blogs are reluctant to stick their necks out because of Jason's previous misses. I think you've done a great job getting additional input so readers can better understand where everyone is coming from. One thing that hasn't really been mentioned here or anywhere else is that the MSM knew something was up that Friday and if I'm not mistaken Chris Matthews was pretty close to reporting something himself. (If I remember right he hem-hawed around about this on Imus) Anyway, there was a stir and some heavy breathing in the media without a real story which tells me Jason on to something, probably the negotiations. He just misinterpreted the 24 hour threat and jumped the gun on the indictment and timing. There is no such thing as perfect reporting and not having an announcement of the indictment happen by Friday doesn't kill this story. Granted some of the details are wrong but to me the main thrust of the story was the negotiations over Rove's indictment. For all we know the negotiations may still be going on. Rove is the guy that Fritz has to squeeze and I'm sure he's doing it.

    But what would "sealed vs. sealed" mean? "U.S. vs. sealed" seems plain enough: either a sealed indictment or a matter involving classified information. It doesn't seem that it could be a civil suit, since any items to be "sealed" or kept confidential would occur later. In cases, where, e.g., a CIA agent has sued the CIA, the agent's name might be sealed, but not the CIA. Since there is no "U.S." in the title, the suggestion would be that a "confidential" dispute between different agencies of the U.S. government has come up for judicial review and adjudication, as with maybe the Justice Dept. suing the NSA over 4th Amendment infingement, wildly implausible as that might be. This is just an informational question, not meant to fuel any wild speculations.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#9)
    by Tom Maguire on Sat May 20, 2006 at 10:48:21 PM EST
    I guess this means that Jason still believes in his sources and won't out them. You cannot imagine my surprise.

    Yeah, well, "cooling the reactor" is a good idea for them. Perhaps if the reactor hadn't been so overheated in the first place ... Of course this at the same time gives Leopold the cover not to out his sources as he swore, since, of course, they aren't retracting the story, the truthiness or not of said sources has not yet been established (so they claim), and won't be, I suppose until either Rove is indicted or such (hypothetical) time as Luskin and Corallo start crowing that Rove has received official notice that he is completely in the clear ...

    At some point you have to wonder why you would believe a "journalist" who got the timing so wrong and then backed and filled to the unknown notion of "business hours" and then, to bolster his story, promised to out his sources if it didn't come out the way he said it would. The most plausible explaination is that you are indeed rooting for a Rove indictment (perhaps to shift attention away from the collapse of Fitz's case against Libby). Otherwise Leopold's long decent into the journalistic slums of TO and his ongoing economy with the truth would have suggested his latest scoop was pure invention. Or, at least, it would have once 24 hours, twenty four business hours and then an entire week had passed. Leopold may have been sold a pup or created a pup of his own out of whole cloth, either way the lefty end of the blogosphere's ongoing credulity in the face of what it wants to believe simply suggests how naive much of it is.

    I don't think the case against Libby is collapsing at all. He's sticking to his memory defense and that is going to be a tough sell given the number of officals he discussed Valerie Plame Wilson with. His case is about lying, not leaking.

    Except that Leopold was not the only person who got that story. Joe Wilson heard the same story from sources independent of Leopold. In addition, Marc Ash says that TO heard from three MSM reporters saying that they had the same story but their editors wouldn't let them run with it. You can chalk that up to fibbing on TO's part but Joe Wilson has no reason to lie about this. It seems to that it's quite clear something is going on. I think there is zero chance Leopold made it up. I do think he may have been suckered by Team Rove but that's the worst case scenario.

    TalkLeft: I for one am completely satisfied with all of your coverage of this whole episode and hope you continue to analyze any and all new facts AND speculation which come our way.

    Notice how quiet Wilson and Johnson have been? Notice how quiet Johnson has been since at least Wednesday? He was out conducting damage control on behalf of Leopold all last weekend. If Wilson got the same information, then either he was also lied to or perhaps Johnson was just lying to provide Leopold with cover since Johnson and Wilson are his sources... It astounds me that Wilson hasn't said a damn thing about any of this to anyone in the media, because you know they would be all over it. They love Wilson. I'm not at all surprised that Leopold hasn't outed his sources - he wouldn't have any "scoops" if he did. All of his scoops are coming from the same people, if I allow myself to speculate. Leopold, like Ash, is going to wait until Fitzgerald indicts Rove to try and cover their ass. When tons of other stories Leopold has done in the past few months have been either unsubstantiated or uncorroborated, don't blame me for not holding my breath on this story.

    Posting here for the first time. Thank you for this blog! Watching from afar, trying to get a handle on the Rove scandal. Praying for Pat Fitzgerald... I'm surprised at all the carping about Leopold and Truthout. This stinks to high heaven of Rove stategery and preemption. Exudes the exact same smell as the Rather debacle. Rather and Co. had the story right, but Rove made sure to throw a spanner in the works that would bring the whole investigative process to a grinding halt; effectively castrate (and disappear) a veteran journalist who had just stitched his balls back on after years of caving to Bushco; and ensured that no one else in the MSM would go near the story. Some may snicker at the possibility that Rove could have wanted to go after Truthout or Leopold, but IMO Rove has cottoned on to the emergent power of the blogosphere to influence the mainstream (not so long ago Colbert's & Gore's recent sorties would have been ignored by the MSM, but instead became big stories) and when apprised of the MSM's plans to stake out the courthouse on Friday (and even Chris Matthew's "getting far out in front" and opining that Rove would be indicted) Karl ordered his operatives to nip this one in the bud. My sense is that the main thrust of the story is correct (and that stuff has happened since it broke to avert the announcement of Rove's indictment) and that Leopold isn't outing his sources either because he still trusts (most of) them or because he realizes that the furor his scoop created may in fact have helped Fitz to squeeze Rove. This theory would also explain why Wilson and Johnson have kept quiet. i.e. they know a lot more than they are saying but are patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop. In my view Jeralyn is right not to rush to judgement, and my own instinct tells me not to be too quick to trash Leopold or Truthout, if only because this is patently what Rove and Co. would want to happen. Thanks for reading and again, thank you for this blog.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Sun May 21, 2006 at 08:35:28 AM EST
    my own instinct tells me not to be too quick to trash Leopold or Truthout, if only because this is patently what Rove and Co. would want to happen
    Well said, freakedoutneighbour.

    Jay, the idea of "24 business hours" is not so unknown as you think.

    I agree with TL that Fitzgerald's case against Libby is far from "crumbling" (as one poster described it). On the contrary, it is Libby's defense that is beginning to look increasingly desperate. They seem to be wriggling this way and that trying to get off the hook.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Sun May 21, 2006 at 10:42:19 AM EST
    F William Engdahl, author of "A Century of War: Anglo American Oil Politics and the New World Order" makes these rather amazing statements in the context of a very detailed and penetrating article May 17 titled "The US's geopolitical "nightmare:
    Karl Rove is rumored to be days away from being co-indicted with Cheney aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby for the Valerie Plame CIA leak affair.
    All threads are being carefully woven, evidently by a re-emerging realist faction, into a tapestry that will likely spell impeachment, perhaps also of the vice president, the real power behind this presidency.
    Although Engdahl's statements only mention the likelihood of Rove's indictment as rumour and he declines to offer background for the first but subtantiats the second in detail, the extreme detail and thoroughness of everything else he discusses in his article makes it clear that he does his homework and does not seem prone to raising possibilities that cannot be substantiated, leaving the reader to wonder what he knows about the Rove case that he will not for now, for whatever reasons, point to sources for. All in all, his article is well worth a detailed read.

    Oops - meant to say "collapse", not "crumbling". But the point still holds. Allow me to add that I thought freakedout made some excellent points. I also wondered if perhaps Rove or parties who shared his interests dangled out this info to Leopold as a set up. Not so much to ensnare Leopold and Truthout, but more out of the hope that some larger media entity would pick up and run with the story. This would allow Rove to portray himself as a victim (just as the President did after the CBS National Guard story). If this were true, perhaps it's a good thing that other media outlets "didn't take the bait"?

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun May 21, 2006 at 12:09:05 PM EST
    edger - I see that your expert is also claiming that avian flu is a Pentagon hoax. I don't think I need to say more.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#23)
    by Sydnie on Sun May 21, 2006 at 12:15:02 PM EST
    TruthOut Story is up
    We know that we have now three independent sources confirming that attorneys for Karl Rove were handed an indictment either late in the night of May 12 or early in the morning of May 13. We know that each source was in a position to know what they were talking about. We know that the office of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will not confirm, will not deny, will not comment on its investigation or on our report. We know that both Rove's attorney Robert Luskin and Rove's spokesman Mark Corallo have categorically denied all key facts we have set forth. We know we have information that directly contradicts Luskin and Corallo's denials. We know that there were two network news crews outside of the building in Washington, DC that houses the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm that represents Karl Rove. We know that the 4th floor of that building (where the Patton Boggs offices are located) was locked down all day Friday and into Saturday night. We know that we have not received a request for a retraction from anyone. And we know that White House spokesman Tony Snow now refuses to discuss Karl Rove - at all.
    Lots more here

    Thanks, Syndie, I'm trying to get a response from Team Rove. If I get one, I'll make a new post about it.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Sun May 21, 2006 at 01:25:31 PM EST
    Sydnie-your link is not working. Internal Server Error is what comes up.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#26)
    by Sydnie on Sun May 21, 2006 at 02:11:31 PM EST
    I think their servers are getting hammered. I will post the second part of the article here since you can't get to it. TL, feel free to remove it if you think you should. I still have it open in another window, so here's the rest:
    Further, we know - and we want our readers to know - that we are dependent on confidential sources. We know that a report based solely on information obtained from confidential sources bears some inherent risks. We know that this is - by far - the biggest story we have ever covered, and that we are learning some things as we go along. Finally, we know that we have the support of those who have always supported us, and that must now earn the support of those who have joined us as of late. We now move on to what we believe. (If you are looking for any guarantees, please turn back now.) We believe that we hit a nerve with our report. When I get calls on my cell phone from Karl Rove's attorney and spokesman, I have to wonder what's up. "I" believe - but cannot confirm - that Mark Corallo, Karl Rove's spokesman gave Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post my phone number. I believe Howard Kurtz contacted me with the intention of writing a piece critical of our organization. I know that Anne Marie Squeo of the Wall Street Journal attacked us and independent journalism as a whole in her piece titled, "Rove's Camp Takes Center of Web Storm / Bloggers Underscore How Net's Reporting, Dynamics Provide Grist for the Rumor Mill." We believe that rolling out that much conservative journalistic muscle to rebut this story is telling. And we believe that Rove's camp is making a concerted effort to discredit our story and our organization. Further - and again this is "What We Believe" - Rove may be turning state's evidence. We suspect that the scope of Fitzgerald's investigation may have broadened - clearly to Cheney - and according to one "off the record source" to individuals and events not directly related to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. We believe that the indictment which does exist against Karl Rove is sealed. Finally, we believe that there is currently a great deal of activity in the Plame investigation. We know that this story is of vital interest to the community, and that providing as much information as we can is very important to our readers. We want you to know that this is challenging territory and that we are proceeding with as much speed as the terrain will allow. Marc Ash, Executive Director - t r u t h o u t director@truthout.org

    I was able to speak with Mark Corallo for his reaction. He denies it all.

    Re: Salon Interviews Truthout Re: Partial Apology (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Sun May 21, 2006 at 02:53:12 PM EST
    Thanks Sydnie