Last Saturday Lawrence O’Donnell (blogging at Huffington Post) “broke” a story about Bush political adviser Karl Rove leaking the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to Time reporter Matthew Cooper. Well…the “break” O’Donnell gave us in the story was more like confirmation that Rove was interviewed by Cooper for the story in question (and absolutely no new information about who did leak Plame), but O’Donnell and his supporters have been all but saying “case closed” ever since.
Well this Saturday another Huffington Post contributor is claiming to have received information that will lead to another break in the Rove/Plame story. This time its David Corn:
To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it’s only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I’m told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove — despite his lawyers claim that Rove “did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA” — did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson’s wife was in the CIA. No wonder special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald pursued Cooper so fiercely. And Fitzgerald must have been delighted when Time magazine — over Cooper’s objection–surrendered Cooper’s emails and notes, which, according to a previous Newsweek posting by Michael Isikoff, named Rove as Cooper’s source. In court on Wednesday, Fitzgerald said that following his receipt of Cooper’s emails and notes “it is clear to us we need [Cooper’s] testimony perhaps more so than in the past.” This was a clue that Fitzgerald had scored big when he obtained the Cooper material.
This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should). If what I am told is true, this is proof that the Bush White House was using any information it could gather on Joseph Wilson — even classified information related to national security — to pursue a vendetta against Wilson, a White House critic. Even if it turns out Rove did not break the law regarding the naming of intelligence officials, this new disclosure could prove Rove guilty of leaking a national security secret to a reporter for political ends. What would George W. Bush do about that?
Sends kind of a mixed message, doesn’t it? Already Corn is setting us up for the possibility that this new information won’t indicate that any sort of crime has been committed, yet suggests that the President must “do” something even in the absence of law breaking.
Because its not the facts that matter, but the seriousness of the charge.
So what exactly is this? An actual break in the story or just a rather shoddy attempt at re-hyping a story that had largely been driven from the headlines by the terror attacks in London for new news cycle?
I guess we’ll find out later today.
Rob Port is the owner and operator of Say Anything.