Although Joseph Wilson and many Democrats have spent the last week saying Karl Rove leaked the identity of a CIA operative to journalists, it may have been the other way around, according to sources familiar with grand jury testimony.
The Associated Press reported Friday that Rove, President Bush's senior adviser, testified to a grand jury that he talked with two journalists before they divulged the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, but that he originally learned about her from the news media and not government sources, according to a person briefed on the testimony.
The person, who works in the legal profession, told AP that Rove testified last year that he remembered specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Plame, who is Wilson's wife, worked for the CIA. Days earlier, Wilson, a former ambassador, had written a harsh critique of the Iraq war that was published in the New York Times
The Times also reported Friday that Rove spoke with Novak as he was preparing his July 2003 article. Novak is the reporter who first outted Plame in print but, he has not appeared to be a focus of the investigation thus far.
The Times reported that someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said Rove also learned from Novak the situation under which Wilson traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Novak told him he planned to report in a weekend column that Plame had worked for the CIA, and the details about the Africa trip, Rove testified.
After hearing Novak's account, the person familiar with the testimony said, Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too."
Rove testified that by the time Novak called him, he believes he had similar information about Wilson's wife from someone else in the media but he couldn't remember exactly who.
A few days before these conversations, in an op-ed article for The New York Times on July 6, 2003, Wilson suggested that he had been sent to Niger because of Vice President Dick Cheney's interest in the matter. But Novak told Rove he knew that Wilson had been sent at the urging of his wife, the sources said.
Novak's column was printed six days later, touching off what would turn into a political firestorm that launched a federal criminal investigation that continues today into who leaked Plame's identity.
Three days after the Novak conversation, Rove testified, the chief of staff had a phone conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper and — in an effort to discredit some of Wilson's allegations — informally told Cooper that he believed Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, though he never used her name, sources told the AP and the Times.
An e-mail Cooper recently provided the grand jury shows Cooper reported to his magazine bosses that Rove had described Wilson's wife in a confidential conversation as someone who "apparently works" at the CIA.
The New York Times noted that the first source — whose identity still is not known — provided the basics of the story and was described by the columnist as "no partisan gunslinger." According to that second Novak column, when the writer called a second official for confirmation, the source said, "Oh, you know about it."
That second source was Rove, the source briefed on the matter told The New York Times.
Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, said Thursday his client truthfully testified to the grand jury and expected to be exonerated.
"Karl provided all pertinent information to prosecutors a long time ago," Luskin said. "And prosecutors confirmed when he testified most recently in October 2004 that he is not a target of the investigation."
Earlier in the day, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."
Federal law prohibits government officials from divulging the identity of an undercover intelligence officer. But prosecutors must prove the leaking official knew the officer was covert and knowingly outed his or her identity. One of the questions that still remains is exactly what status Plame had at the time of the leak; many reports say she had a desk job at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., at the time.
Wilson on Thursday acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak's column first identified her.
"My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity," he said.
But Republicans argued Friday that the latest information exonerates their man.
"Karl Rove wasn't the leaker, he was actually the recipient of the information," Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told FOX News on Friday morning.
Democrats continued this week to sharpen their attacks, accusing Rove of compromising a CIA operative's identity just to discredit the political criticism of her husband.
Can we please not use the ridiculous Fox News term "homicide bombing". A suicide bomber is someone who sets off a bomb and dies while doing so. What is a homicide bomber? Anyone who sets off a bomb and kills someone else? One term helps describe the bombing, the other one is just redundant and creepily Orwellian.
Can anyone suggest a good (read awesome) racing game?
I have the midtown madness series.
Also have Nascar stuff.
But I just picked up a new pimpin' wheel, gas, break, etc control set that is force feedback. Looking for a relly good game to try it out on.
when terrorists kill their own people, its not terrorism
Well, how many "white dudes" are hijacking airlines and killing 3,000 civillians in the name of Allah? Being killed in a war zone isn't terrorism. I am not minimizing their loss, but an awful lot of those deaths are due to the terrorists killing their own people
Tell that to the 100K+ dead Iraqi and Afghani people who have been indiscriminately killed by "white dudes" over the last 3 years. Oh right, I forgot, that's different.
At least 26 Iraqis, almost all of them children, have been killed by a suicide car bombing in south-eastern Baghdad.
A US soldier is also said to have died in the blast. Another three US soldiers are reported to have been injured.
A car drove up to a US army vehicle and blew up as troops gave sweets to the children, a witness said.
Hundreds of Iraqis have died in attacks by militants opposed to the US presence and a Shia-led government that took charge in Baghdad earlier this year.
Twice counts as repeatedly I suppose.