Friday, October 07, 2005

New National Journal Story on Plame investigation: What Karl Rove told the President

The National Journal just posted this story of mine online about presidential advisor Karl Rove's private conversations with President Bush regarding Valerie Plame. Since not many bloggers have yet noticed the story, or worse– found it worthy– I am going to exercise my blogger's perogative to blog myself. I am going to blog more about this over this weekend. And below is an excerpt:

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove personally assured President Bush in the early fall of 2003 that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press that Valerie Plame, the wife of an administration critic, was a CIA employee, according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors.
During the same conversation in the White House two years ago-occurring just days after the Justice Department launched a criminal probe into the unmasking of Plame as a covert agency operative-Rove also assured the president that he had not leaked any information to the media in an effort to discredit Plame's husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson. Rove also did not tell the president about his July 2003 a phone call with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, a conversation that touched on the issue of Wilson and Plame.

But some 22 months later, Cooper's testimony to the federal grand jury investigating the Plame leak has directly contradicted Rove's assertions to the president. Cooper has testified that Rove was the person who first told him that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, although Rove did not name her. Cooper has also testified that Rove told him that Plame helped arrange for Wilson to make a fact-finding trip for the CIA to the African nation of Niger to investigate allegations that then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium with which to build a nuclear bomb.In his first interview with FBI agents working on the leak probe, Rove similarly did not disclose that he had spoken to Cooper, according to sources close to the investigation.
But in subsequent interviews with federal investigators and in his testimony to the grand jury, Rove changed his account, asserting that when the FBI first questioned him, he had simply forgotten about his phone conversation with Cooper. Rove also told prosecutors that he had forgotten about the Cooper conversation when he talked to the president about the matter in the fall of 2003...
Sources close to the leak investigation being run by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald say it was the discovery of one of Rove's White House e-mails-in which the senior Bush adviser referred to his July 2003 conversation with Cooper- that prompted Rove to contact prosecutors and to revise his account to include the Cooper conversation.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Rove before grand jury in the morning

White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove will testify tomorrow morning for a fourth time before the federal grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame matter, according to sources close to the investigation.

Rove will appear voluntarily, but during tomorrow's session, Rove will be pressed about issues as to why his accounts to the FBI and grand jury have changed, or evolved, over time. He will also be questioned regarding contacts with other senior administration officials, such as then-deputy National Security advisor Stephen J. Hadley and I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney in the critical week before the publication of columnist Robert Novak's column on July 14, 2003, which outed Plame as a covert CIA operative.

Rove is also likely to be asked more detailed questions about his conversation with Time magazine Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, in which Cooper himself has testified to the grand jury that Rove had told him that Valerie Plame was employed by the CIA, and had played a role in having her husband, ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, selected to go on his controversial fact-finding mission on behalf of the CIA. Rove's previous grand jury appearances had occurred prior to Cooper's own testimony to the grand jury.