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MSNBC Analyst and a Newsweek Reporter Say Karl Rove Named in Matt Cooper Documents


Editor and Publisher
By Greg Mitchell

NEW YORK Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to a federal judge, revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source or sources in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant. Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

This afternoon, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff confirmed that Cooper did indeed talk to Rove for his story, but Rove's lawyer denied he was the key leaker in the case.

"The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House," Isikoff writes on the Newsweek web site. "Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with Newsweek, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove."

According to Isikoff, Luskin told Newsweek that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He noted that Rove had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.

"He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told Newsweek that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove.

MSNBC's O'Donnell first offered the Rove revelation Friday night on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show. Today, he went beyond that, writing a brief entry at the Huffington Post blog:

"I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

"McLaughlin is seen in some markets on Friday night, so some websites have picked it up, including Drudge, but I don't expect it to have much impact because McLaughlin is not considered a news show and it will be pre-empted in the big markets on Sunday because of tennis.

"Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow."

Here is the text of what O'Donnell said on Friday:

"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury--the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

"I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

Other McLaughlin Group panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper.

Besides his career at a TV journalist, O'Donnell has served as a producer and writer for the series "The West Wing."

According to published reports, Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the case, has interviewed President Bush and Vice President Cheney and called Karl Rove, among others, to testify before the grand jury.

"The breadth of Fitzgerald's inquiry has led to speculation that it has evolved into an investigation of a conspiracy to leak Plame's identity," the Chicago Tribune observed on Friday, "or of an attempt to cover up White House involvement in the leak."

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Greg Mitchell (letters@editorandpublisher.com) is editor of E&P.

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Bush Aide Accused of CIA Leak
Julian Borger
The Guardian

Wednesday 01 October 2003

Reporters told wife of former US ambassador was an agent

President George Bush's closest political adviser, Karl Rove, was yesterday at the centre of a criminal investigation into allegations that he leaked the name of a CIA agent in an attempt to suppress criticism of the administration's Iraq policy, in what is fast becoming the administration's worst scandal since coming to office.

The White House fended off calls for an independent inquiry but urged its staff yesterday to cooperate with a justice department investigation.

Over the next few days, FBI agents will question Washington journalists and administration officials about claims that Mr Rove and others in the White House deliberately blew the cover of Valerie Plame, a CIA expert on weapons of mass destruction.

Under US law, it is a serious crime to reveal the identity of a covert US intelligence official, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $50,000 (?31,250) in fines.

If Mr Rove was implicated, it would seriously damage the president's standing at the start of his re-election campaign and rob him of an electoral mastermind who orchestrated his rise to the Texas governorship and then the presidency.

One veteran of the Clinton administration compared it to the Hutton inquiry. "In the Kelly case there's a body but no crime. Here there's no body but there is a crime," he said.

Ms Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson, a former US ambassador who in July accused the White House of misleading the nation over claims of Iraq's attempts to buy uranium in Africa. In a New York Times commentary he said he had been sent to Niger to check such claims in 2002 and found them to be baseless.

A few days after Mr Wilson went public with his allegations, a conservative columnist, Robert Novak, wrote that he had been told by "two senior administration officials" that Mr Wilson had been sent on the Niger mission at his wife's suggestion.

Reporters at Time magazine and NBC News and a handful of others were also tipped off about Ms Plame, and Democrats claim the source in each case was Mr Rove. According to some accounts, Mr Rove did not mention Ms Plame by name but referred to "Wilson's wife" being a CIA employee.

At a public meeting in August, Mr Wilson, a staunch Democrat himself, said: "It's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frogmarched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words."

Mr Novak and the other journalists involved have refused to name their sources. Their lawyers are expected to claim protection from the law under the first amendment of the constitution guaranteeing freedom of speech.

But a 1972 supreme court ruling, Branzburg v Hayes, states "the first amendment does not relieve a newspaper reporter of the obligation that all citizens have to respond to a grand jury subpoena and answer questions relevant to a criminal investigation".

Mr Novak claimed he was told by CIA officials that Ms Plame was an analyst, not a covert operative. But intelligence analysts have argued that the CIA director, George Tenet, would not have called for an inquiry if the identification of Ms Plame had not caused potential damage to national security.

Charles Schumer, the Democratic senator leading the campaign for an independent counsel inquiry, said yesterday: "When you reveal the name of an agent, it's like putting a gun to that agent's head. You are jeopardising their life in many cases. You are jeopardising the lives of the contacts that they have built up over the decades. You are jeopardising the security of the nation."

President Bush welcomed the investigation as "a good thing". "There's just too many leaks, and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. If the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."

The White House has turned down Democratic demands for the appointment of an independent counsel to look into the matter. The inquiry will instead be carried out by the FBI under the supervision of the attorney general, John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist.

So, knowing what we now know, that judith Miller was in fact protecting Carl Rove as her source for the Plame leak, think about this in the context of her cheerleading for the administration's drive to invade Iraq.

Judith Miller effectively worked for Carl Rove, and was apparently willing to go to jail for him.

When this whole thing comes unraveled and the thruth is revealed, there may still be some jail time in Ms. Miller's future.

If it is true that Judith Miller effectively worked for Karl Rove by preparing the NYT readership for the war, then the New York Times worked with Karl Rove as well.

Is this perhaps the reason why the NYT does not want to cooperate with the Grand Jury?

I have been watching and waiting for the press to look into the Downing Streeet Memos but now we really are taken to another level with this issue of Carl Rove and outing a CIA OPERATIVE. It is all not good!

We have been supressd by info from the press and by this government Do not ever forget. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.

Rove in the past few weeks must have known that these people were going to come forward. The administration has said nothing about Downing Street and I am now convinced that the press has an opertunity to really go after these issues. If they don't something is wrong with our government, with our media!

It is not surprising that Rove would leak information that would harm an 'enemy' of Bush's. In fact, it is all too typical of what this administration sees as common practice. It worked with McCain, it worked with Kerry, and it worked with each person with enough integrity to stand up to the War Machine.

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