Sunday, July 17, 2005

Cooper Breaks Silence, Says Rove Revealed Plame's Identity, But Not Name

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was the first person to tell Time's Matthew Cooper of Valerie Plame's identity, although Rove did not use her name, the reporter said in a Time article today.

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.

He also wrote that he was not certain what Rove meant by commenting he had already said too much.

***

A top Cheney aide was also among the sources, Cooper said.

Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that vice presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby and Rove were not involved in the leaks.

Cooper said on the July 17 edition of NBC's Meet the Press that he spoke to Libby after first learning about Wilson's wife from Rove.

"On background, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replied, `Yeah, I've heard that, too,' or words to that effect," host Tim Russert read from the Time article.

***

The RNC's Ken Mehlman, speaking after Cooper on Meet the Press, called the criticism of Rove from Democrats and the press this week nothing but a “smear campaign” and “outrageous.”

The conversation with Mehlman then turned to whether Rove was a source for Novak, or the other way around.

MEHLMAN: That information says Karl Rove was not Bob Novak's source, that Novak told Rove, not the other way around, and it says that Karl warned Matt Cooper about Joe Wilson not to get too overactive. Karl was right. Joe Wilson was wrong on numerous fronts.

RUSSERT: But Mr. Rove did say to Robert Novak "I heard that, too," and Mr. Novak used him as a confirming source. And, two, Matt Cooper said he learned of her existence as a CIA operative from Karl Rove.

MEHLMAN: Well, Tim, these same stories also suggested that Karl Rove heard the first time about it from another reporter. It suggested that he was not Bob Novak's initial source, and that Bob Novak never said, "I'm asking for corroboration." There was a chat going on. But here's the point. We don't know this stuff. We're prejudging this morning.

***

So is Mehlman -- apparently contradicting Cooper -- suggesting that Rove was not a leak, but others in the administration were?

Russert failed to recall that in an interview from 2003, Novak said administration sources had come to him with the information. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me," he said. "They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it."

5 Comments:

Blogger Storm Trooper said...

Bush = awesome!

11:53 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

The parrots are getting lamer-even the talking points seem to be strained these days.

I hold some hope that they'll figure out that just saying something doesn't make it true, but I'm not holding my breath.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on now, many of us here on the blog are journalists. Over the last some 14 years I have been one, each time of the many times I heard the words, "I've already said too much," was an indication my source was telling me something he should not be telling me.
Never ever has it meant, I have to go to a meeting.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush certainly is awesome.
An awesome failure.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Trey Hieneman said...

I watched Ken Mehlman on Meet the Press yesterday. I thought he sounded very contradictory to what was being said my Mr. Wilson. The more this situation drags on, the more I (and the rest of America) become even more suspicious of the administration's handling of the leak.

1:06 PM  

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