Sunday, July 17, 2005

Surprise! Libby Was A Source, Too

As long-time PlameGame watchers like Tom Maguire long ago figured out, Cheney Chief of Staff Lewis Libby was also a source in the Plame/Wilson/Rove extravaganza. Huff'N'Puff has ANOTHER SCREAMING HEADLINE over the non-story that is Matt Cooper's newest Time piece, a heavily hyped article that adds little that isn't trivial. Getting the biggest play is Cooper's statement that Rove signed off with 'I've already said too much', which, admittedly, seems to show a guilty conscience, but that shouldn't hold any legal weight. As Maguire says:
...I am sure of this - if Rove gave it to him on "double super secret background" and told him "I've already said too much", one has to wonder whether Rove really meant to see that tidbit splashed across TIME magazine. Unless, of course, the forbidden tip smells sweeter.
Why is that significant? Because the Democratic (prosecutorial?) theory is that Rove acted maliciously to smear Wilson, and Rove's spin is that he was trying to warn Cooper away from a false story. The newest revelation, again, seems to support Rove's position (though I note that some comments at Tom's place make the excellent point that by saying he wanted to be 'on background', Rove was giving his tacit approval to publishing) (UPDATE 10:57 p.m central: on the other hand, there's this from Wikipedia: Most journalists would understand "deep background" to mean that the information may not be included in the article but is used by the journalist to enhance his or view of the subject matter, or to act as a guide to other leads or sources. Most deep background information is confirmed elsewhere before being reported).

Reuters has the following coverage that I will quote because it gives some details that Time is hiding behind a subscription page:

Time correspondent Matthew Cooper said he told a grand jury last week that Rove told him the woman worked at the "agency," or CIA, on weapons of mass destruction issues, and ended the call by saying "I've already said too much."

He said Rove did not disclose the woman's name, Valerie Plame, but told him information would be declassified that would cast doubt on the credibility of her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, who had charged the Bush administration with exaggerating the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs in making its case for war.

"So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes," Cooper wrote in Time's current edition.

"When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me," Cooper wrote.

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