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July 13, 2005

Comments

"Republicans: please keep saying this. Keep telling the American people that it's only Democrats who think it's wrong to out an undercover CIA agent."

Could you please offer proof that an undercover agent was outed by Rove?

Could you please offer proof that Plame was undercover at the time?

Maybe, I missed it, but it seems to me that the answers to these questions are relevant.

I can tell that you are all up in arms over this, but can't you agree that there is not any proof "YET" that Rove actually did anything wrong. While it is commonly acknowledged that many reporters have long known that Plame worked at the CIA.

Grrr ...

Boy, am I tired of this "was Plame even undercover" mess.

Most recently, we have Larry Johnson, retired CIA & undoubted Bush critic, who says expressly that she was indeed covert at the time and that Novak burned her.

until Robert Novak betrayed her she was still undercover and the company that was her front was still a secret to the world. When Novak outed Valerie he also compromised her company and every individual overseas who had been in contact with that company and with her.

Whatever his politics, Johnson's inside knowledge trumps any *@#!#^ talking point about "but how do we KNOW Plame was really an operative."

If people would either (1) cite their evidence that Plame WASN'T covert or (2) not bring up that canard, that would certainly contribute to focus on live issues, like whether or not Rove's guilty of anything (still quite an open issue).

Could you please offer proof that an undercover agent was outed by Rove?

Sure.

Could you please offer proof that Plame was undercover at the time?

Sure.

Oh, and Kevin Drum nailed this one to the wall back in October 2003, if anyone's decided that Larry Johnson's word is worthless.

now that's what desperation smells like!

BlogMe: First, I offered evidence that she was undercover. Second, I also said that anyone who outs a CIA agent has the obligation to make sure not just that she's not undercover just then, but that if she was no longer undercover, exposing her identity would not harm other intelligence assets. That said, I also offered evidence that Novak's revelation blew a CIA front company. Obviously, I don't know whether any of the agents she ran, or the people she associated with, were put at risk by the disclosure, and if I did I wouldn't post it here, since I'm not Karl Rove or Bob Novak. But I think there's absolutely enough evidence to warrant the conclusion that Rove did something badly wrong.

Blogme, you wrote:

Could you please offer proof that an undercover agent was outed by Rove?

Could you please offer proof that Plame was undercover at the time?

Both of your questions were answered in the post to which you responded, leading me to believe that you are, in fact, merely responding to the words "Plame" and "Rove" in the same post with a denial so instant as to be practically Pavlovian.

Would someone care to test this by posting several hundred words (perhaps quoted from a Terry Pratchett novel) with the words "Plame" and "Rove" inserted? It would be an interesting experiment to see how Blogme responds.

blogme,

I think it's safe to assume the CIA knows whether she was undercover. They requested the investigation into the the identification of an undercover agent. Do you think they just goofed? Do you think Fitzgerald has just gone blithely along for two years without making sure that she was undercover?


What are all the Bush apologists going to do when Rove gets indicted? It would instantly render all this clintonian parsing of statutes and Plame's status rather moot.

All I can figure is they'll go to the activist judges/overzealous prosecuter line they've used with Limbaugh's and Tom Delay's legal problems.

The Poor Man points out some preliminary moves today toward smearing the good name of the prosecutor, on the part of Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

Clicking through PM's link makes his claim clearer:

At the time, federal prosecutor Brian Netols told Manning, "I think that would be the appropriate sentence."

The three-judge panel on the case, Frank Easterbrook, Ilana Diamond Rovner and Diane Wood, issued its opinion, written by Easterbrook, stating that the sentence should have been 120 months.

"By deciding not to (challenge the 97-month sentence), the United States has ensured that Rivera's sentence cannot be increased," the opinion states. * * *

Sensenbrenner also wrote a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, demanding that the decision be appealed further and that he investigate why the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago did not appeal Rivera's sentence.

(Italics/bold off.)

So what everyone here is claiming is that Cooper had no idea that Plame worked at the CIA?

And if Rove hadn't told Cooper no one else could have given him that information.


I suppose it is irrelevant to everyone here that the law the law says, "an "undercover agent" must have been working outside the country under a contrived identity or circumstance and on a permanent basis within the previous five years."

So please show me that this was in fact her situation.

And feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Novak leak her identity not Cooper.

Are you guys claiming that Novak talked to Cooper and then Novak outed Plame?

Just trying to follow the logic.

2shoes,

It sounds like you need to talk to Anderson. Anderson for some reason seems to think that Novak outed Plame.

Who was it? Rove or Novak?


I'm more than willing to accept the Plame may have been undercover at the time. I think that information will come out in more detail later. But as stated above I am not sure she meets the previously posted definition. I will accept Fitzgerald's conclusion.

Can all of you say the same if he finds no wrong doing by Rove?

You guys are jumping on the band wagon to convict, but I think you might actually be jumping onto a sinking ship. I would rather wait and see what Fitzgerald says in the end.

"So please show me that this was in fact her situation."

The evidence is that Fitzgerald is investigating this.

The best-case scenario for the Bush administration would have been if she wasn't covert. They could have ended this in 2003, before anyone was questioned.

They could have produced CIA records a, b, and c, which prove that Valerie Plame was not covert for reasons x, y, and z. Thus, no law was broken. They could have gone on to claim that they knew she wasn't covert, and that's why she was named.

This would have been optimal. The Bush administration would have come out looking clean as a whistle. Objective proof would have been available, to satisfy any doubters or dismiss claims of a whitewashing.

Since nobody in the administration would have been questioned, no perjury would have been possible.

Why do you think Ashcroft's Department of Justice would miss this easy out?

What makes you think Fitzgerald is working on a case which could have been ended two years ago with a look at the CIA's travel records?

Who was it? Rove or Novak?

False dichotomy.

"wherein a few details are released from Cooper's e-mails to Time editors about his "double super secret background" interview with WH dep"

Anybody know what this means?

blogme: "Can all of you say the same if he finds no wrong doing by Rove?"

Fitzgerald is investigating the question: were any laws broken by outing Plame? This is different from the question: did anyone do anything wrong in outing Plame? (I said this in my original post.) Whether anyone did anything wrong in outing Plame is not Fitzgerald's call to make.

Plame was a NOC undercover agent outside the country for the CIA until sometime in the late '90s. She was still undercover, though not abroad, at the time she was outed. Outing her not only ended her career as an undercover agent, it burned her cover company, and we have no reason at all to assume it didn't harm people she worked with. If Karl Rove convinces me that he had ironclad evidence that none of these people could have been harmed by this disclosure, OK; if not, I think he shouldn't have disclosed her identity without knowing that for a fact.

This is all more than enough to show that Rove (and anyone else who took part in the effort to make her identity known) engaged in "wrongdoing", though it's not enough to show that Rove violated 50 USC 421. If you'd like to argue that outing an agent is OK, go for it. If not, leave it alone.

I'll leave you to figure out the double super secret part for yourself.

When someone responds to a deconstruction of loony talking points with a textbook demonstration of those talking points, you just have to wonder.

Blogme, do you happen to know Moby, or do we need to break out the recipes?

And feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Novak leak her identity not Cooper.

Neither. They were recipients of a leak, not leakers.

You know, I'd be surprised if either Ms. Miller's lawyer Bob Bennett or Mr. Cooper's lawyer Miguel Estrada would have missed completely the fact that no laws had been broken, and would just watch their clients go to jail without raising the issue. Think maybe they know something you don't?

"Think maybe they know something you don't?"

Yep, sure do.

Bush is still standing by Rove even after all the info that has come public. Think he knows something you don't?

A http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/opinions/2005/Hogan/2004-MS-407~5:57:29~6-30-2005-a.pdf>couple of http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/opinions/2005/Hogan/2004-MS-407~5:57:29~6-30-2005-b.pdf>filings from the district court action.

Think he knows something you don't?

Tons. I just haven't heard him say that he thinks Plame was not within the ambit of the statute. Or that he thinks no laws were broken. If he thought her job description answered the inquiry -- or the state of Wilson's knowledge, or whatever excuse is the current favorite -- he could just say so.

Hilzoy,

"I'll leave you to figure out the double super secret part for yourself."

Is this not at all relevant in Rove's intentions and we shouldn't take the time to discuss what it means?

Is it something that we should just ignore?

This is all more than enough to show that Rove (and anyone else who took part in the effort to make her identity known) engaged in "wrongdoing"

I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself, hilzoy. First of all, Plame's status as a NOC agent at the time of publication hasn't been documented, as far as I've seen. Second, given that no one's yet been charged with anything, the conclusion that it was Rove that did...whatever is unwarranted.

If you want to speculate, though, join us over here.

Slarti, I think you missed Blogme's first comment on this thread (July 13, 2005 02:40 PM) which already asked the two questions you pose. I think you'll find, if you re-read the thread, that your/Blogme's two points have already been dealt with thoroughly.

From the hyper-conservative Josh Marshall

"Plame was one of a group of spies that the CIA suspected, but wasn’t sure, might have been compromised by Aldrich Ames. Because of that, she was brought back stateside for her own protection, though she continued to work as a NOC."

Jesurgislac,

Maybe Josh and Larry can get together and see if they can agree with each other. The point is all the facts aren't in. But, that really doesn't seem to be a point that interests anyone here.

"For starters, Valerie Plame was an undercover operations officer until outed in the press by Robert Novak. Novak's column was not an isolated attack. It was in fact part of a coordinated, orchestrated smear that we now know includes at least Karl Rove"

Slarti: I was explicitly discussing wrongdoing as opposed to criminal conduct. The relevant law is very narrowly drafted, and for all I know it may not cover what Rove did. That's of course a big concern to Fitzgerald, but it's not a big concern to me, except insofar as my meaner side would like to see Rove led off in handcuffs.

To me, the question is: did Rove do something wrong? And the answer is: yes. Why? Well, he outed someone who was a NOC agent until (I think) '98, at which point she was brought in a bit because they thought she might have been compromised by Ames. (As I understand it.) She used to run agents. Rove ended her career, including any future work on WMD she might have done. This led to the disclosure that the company she supposedly worked for was a front. It might have endangered not only the people she was actually working with when she was undercover, but innocent people she had contact with.

And why did he do this? Maybe, if you gave me some time, I could come up with a hypothetical where this was the right thing to do. Maybe if Osama bin Laden had a nuclear bomb and was threatening to blow up the world unless I outed Valerie Plame, and God leaned down and told me that this would indeed be Osama's last demand, after which he'd head off for a retirement community in Bahrain.

But Karl Rove did it to discredit a political opponent. -- How on earth is this not obviously wrong?

We've got a retired CIA agent who says Plame was covert at the time of publication.

Does anyone have any rebuttal *evidence* against that?

it's interesting how many laws BushCo has come this close to breaking.

Blogme,

"From the hyper-conservative Josh Marshall

"Plame was one of a group of spies that the CIA suspected, but wasn’t sure, might have been compromised by Aldrich Ames. Because of that, she was brought back stateside for her own protection, though she continued to work as a NOC."

Regardless of Plame's status, the CIA was sufficiently angered by the leak to ask the Justice Department to investigate it.

Anderson,

Maybe you can help me understand what laws were broken by Larry Johnson?

"Mr. Johnson left the CIA in 1989. He left the State Department in 1993. btw. "

How did someone who wasn't working at the CIA know for sure that Plame was still working as an undercover agent? Obviously someone leaked the information to him? Was it Rove?

So much to know, but no one here including myself knows the whole story yet.


And finally, the boogey man has revealed itself:

"my meaner side would like to see Rove led off in handcuffs."

But, hey I'm sure we all really only care about what's in the best interest of our country. It's not like our political bias could ever stop us from being rational.

; -)


But, hey I'm sure we all really only care about what's in the best interest of our country

is it true that the only way harm can be done is if the law is broken ?

"is it true that the only way harm can be done is if the law is broken ?"

And this is relevant to my comment how?

I don't really wish anyone to be led of in handcuffs unless their are proven guilty of a crime. No matter what my meaner side my feel. Sue me for being an American.

Harm is done all the time without breaking any laws. Sadly, I know quite a few Americans who have fallen into this category since the WOT started. I read their blogs all the time.

So let me get this straight1

We know so far that Rove told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

"Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip."

Is this statement the one that condems Rove or is there more somewhere else that we know about?

Mr. Johnson left the CIA in 1989. He left the State Department in 1993. btw. "

How did someone who wasn't working at the CIA know for sure that Plame was still working as an undercover agent?

Now, THAT is a good point, tho not definitive; fbow, CIA vets are going to gossip, law be damned.

Anyone seen anything on Johnson's position to know about Plame's status?

blogme writes: "Is this not at all relevant in Rove's intentions and we shouldn't take the time to discuss what it means?"

There is no exception in the law such that it's okay if the recipient promises not to tell.

Just telling Cooper would be a violation of the law, even if he never mentioned it to anyone else. The relevant law doesn't only cover publication.

"background" just means you can't tell who told you, not that you can't pass on what you've been told.


According to Vanity Fair's profile of Plame, she moved back to the US in 1997, but does not give the month. If she moved back after July, that would put her within 5 years of the leak to Novak.

The Vanity Fair story also says that in 2003 Plame was in the process of moving from NOC to State Department cover. Perhaps that's how someone (Bolton?) at State found out about her, and passed that on to Rove.

"In fact, in the spring, Plame was in the process of moving from noc status to State Department cover."

And this is relevant to my comment how?

doesn't matter. i got my answer.

Blogme: "I'll leave you to figure out the double super secret part for yourself."

Is this not at all relevant in Rove's intentions and we shouldn't take the time to discuss what it means?

It is still disclosing the identity of a NOC operative. Even if you pinky-swear the other person to secrecy.


I should note that, even though she moved back to the US in 1997, it's entirely possible that she could have done a quick low-risk trip out of he country, undercover, after 1997.

Technically, a 30 minute undercover meeting in Tijuana, right across the border, would count under the relevant statute, as long as it took place within 5 years.

There's no requirement that the undercover work have been of long duration.

Now, THAT is a good point, tho not definitive

not even close. Johnson isn't the issue here.

We've got a retired CIA agent who says Plame was covert at the time of publication.

Cite? Is this the same guy who said that Plame had been undercover for three decades?

But Karl Rove did it to discredit a political opponent. -- How on earth is this not obviously wrong?

Far too much supposition, hilzoy. I think I'd wait until testimony is extracted from Cooper and Miller. There's much here that defies explanation using that which is known, beginning with Rove's belated waiver that releases both Cooper and Miller to testify about their discussions with him. Who is it that appears to have something to hide, here? And if the case against Rove is clear, how come no one is taking advantage of this wide-open opportunity? Granted, the waiver's only been out there for eighteen months or so, but the wheels of justice surely turn faster than that.

blogme:

Stop being a troll and actually address the facts:

1. Plame as a NOC -- everyone who should know the answer to this question has made it clear by their conduct that she was a NOC. Who are they? Well, the CIA, the White House (who could have instantly ended the controversy in 2003 by making the case on this), the special prosecutor, all of the lawyers involved including Rove's lawyer, and the district and circuit court judges who upheld imprisonment of reporters for not talking (they reviewed the relevant evidence of the possible crime in order to uphold the orders).

And what do you cite as support for the proposition that she wasn't a NOC? Diddly squat. And RNC talking points, which are the same thing.

2. Rove outed Plame -- Rove's own lawyer (Luskin) admits that Rove told Cooper that Plame was CIA before Novak's article ran. Luskin's defense is that Rove allegedly did not knowlingly burn her as a NOC, which is a legal defense but hardly a moral defense.

This admission came only two years later when the Cooper disclosure forced Rove to admit something that, through McClellan, was officially denied; i.e., Rove had McClellan lie to the press about his involvement from 2003 through now, when the Cooper disclosures blew the lid off that lie.

Someone also told Novak that led to the article that created the scandal. We don't know yet who that was, but the most reasonable inference is that it was either Rove or someone acting under Rove's direction. That's just logic, and denying it is partisanship.

3. Wait for the criminal investigation and trial to be over before taking any action against Rove, and if he evades a guilty verdict, he is clean?

Uh, this might be the standard the mafia uses when assessing the propriety of their capo's conduct. Nice to see that Bush has adopted it as the standard for keeping his most trusted advisors in the public service. Which also might explain why Bush lied in 2003 that he would fire whoever leaked, and now has decided not to after Rove admitted he leaked to Cooper. He must have sworn omerta with Rove.

Also, the same standard means that Clinton was blameless. Ha ha.

Slartibartfast:

Granted, the waiver's only been out there for eighteen months or so, but the wheels of justice surely turn faster than that.

I wondered about this too, until I heard the lawyers for Cooper and Miller indicate that the policy is to presume that these waivers are coerced and should not be honored by the reporter in order to protect the source. After all, government reaction to whistleblowers could easily be to have everyone in the government sign the waivers "or else." Refusing to sign would be viewed as an admission of guilt. The government then waves the waivers to force the press to divulge the leaker. That tactic would essentially eliminate the force of the promise to keep the leaker's id confidential, hence the policy of ignoring the waiver.

I thought the waivers should end the issue until I heard this analysis from the first amendment lawyers who do this work.

That's why Cooper wanted the high level of assurance that the source was really waiving the promise of confidentiality, which he apparently only got at the last minute.

Which also leads to the analysis that Rove probably knew this, and would not provide the greater assurance until the last possible second. His initial waiver became a cynical ploy to pretend to cooperate? Never.

So, I'm wondering: if Johnson was retired, how does he know Plame's undercover status?

"So, I'm wondering: if Johnson was retired, how does he know Plame's undercover status?"

Er, friends who aren't retired yet?

After she was outed, they might have talked about her with Johnson.

I wondered about this too, until I heard the lawyers for Cooper and Miller indicate that the policy is to presume that these waivers are coerced and should not be honored by the reporter in order to protect the source.

And you don't think that reeks of bullshit? Rove's lawyer and Rove both maintain that the waiver's legitimate and uncoerced...why would they do that, if Rove had something to hide?

No, who's impeding the investigation is not Rove, but Miller and Cooper.

which he apparently only got at the last minute.

As in, the night before he refused to testify. Now, what's that look like? Cooper's lawyer contacts Luskin the night before he's to be questioned, and Luskin assures him the waiver is as broad as can be. Cooper then puts up this nonsense about coercion.

So, I'm wondering: if Johnson was retired, how does he know Plame's undercover status?

presumably he knows it the same way we do: (from Hilzoy's link above):

    The CIA declined to discuss Plame's intelligence work, but an agency official disputed suggestions that she was a mere analyst whose public exposure would have little consequence.

    "If she was not undercover, we would have no reason to file a criminal referral," the CIA official said, insisting on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

next red herring.

Er, friends who aren't retired yet?

In other words, Johnson doesn't know. Ok, not sure why I wasted my time clicking on the link.

"Cite? Is this the same guy who said that Plame had been undercover for three decades?"

Larry Johnson, at the TPM link. That Johnson,Wilson, and Plame, who served their country in extraordinary fashions, have their integrity questioned in defense of a man like Rove, who Bush sr fired for bad conduct and character...

That this is done, not only by paid political officials and operatives, by ordinary run-of-the-mill salt-of-the- earth Republicans and "independents"...

That this is at least the third time I have watched this national process...enough to convince me of a pattern...

What...you expect a conclusion that would violate posting rules? Read my mind.

slarti writes: "No, who's impeding the investigation is not Rove, but Miller and Cooper"

Cooper testified today for 2.5 hours, so he's not impeding it anymore.

If she was not undercover, we would have no reason to file a criminal referral

You know, at this stage of the game I'd expect to see testimony from someone with a name and position to know.

I don't understand why Novak isn't the target of investigation and why he hasn't been given the choice of going to jail or naming his source. Can someone explain this to me?

Slart:

I worked in journalism, nothing that required high level confidentiality, but I thought that through independently the other day--beginning with, "why the hell won't they talk if everyone's signed waivers?--and came to the exact same conclusion. It would not be hard for the government agency in question to figure out what people had access to the information, and hand them a waiver saying: "sign this or you're fired." If 500 people had the information, they could make 500 people sign waivers. There are few leaks you couldn't do that for.

Go on believing what you want about Rove and it all being a miscommunication--I know it's shocking, shocking to assert that Rove might know how the press operates, including their policies in dealing with confidential sources, and try to manipulate them. I mean, if you find that convincing, go with it. But there is no reason at all to believe Cooper is lying.

Another point in favor of Plame's covertness (covertitude? coverticity?):

Porter Goss, CIA head.

It beggars belief that, if Plame *weren't* covert, he wouldn't have trumpeted that fact by now.

lily wrote: "I don't understand why Novak isn't the target of investigation and why he hasn't been given the choice of going to jail or naming his source. Can someone explain this to me?"

He most likely already did name his source. He hasn't said either way.

Cooper testified today for 2.5 hours, so he's not impeding it anymore.

Ah, good. In a reasonable world, then, things ought to be cleared up in short order. Wonder why he's lobbying to get Miller released, though? I mean, since Rove waived privelege, Miller ought to be positively relieved to take the stand.

"I mean, since Rove waived privelege, Miller ought to be positively relieved to take the stand."

Miller may have different sources. She's in bed with the Pentagon, after all. Or maybe she's protecting Bolton.

But there is no reason at all to believe Cooper is lying.

Interesting. Looking back, I can't see where I may have said that. But let's pursue the coercion thing some more...are you seriously suggesting that Rove was coerced by his own sockpuppet?

You know, at this stage of the game I'd expect to see testimony from someone with a name and position to know.

you mean you'd expect someone from the CIA to step forward and say "Yes, Plame was a covert operative until her cover was blown. Now she stays home knitting." ?

aren't there laws against revealing that kind of information ?

here is a new statement from Cooper's atty about Rove and confidentiality. (via Digby)

aren't there laws against revealing that kind of information ?

Well, if someone's found guilty of spilling the beans, the existence of said beans is sort of a foregone conclusion.

Katherine: But there is no reason at all to believe Cooper is lying.

Slartibartfast (July 13, 2005 09:06 PM): Interesting. Looking back, I can't see where I may have said that.

Slartibartfast (July 13, 2005 08:49 PM): And you don't think that reeks of bullshit?

Sounds like you suggested the possibility.

But let's pursue the coercion thing some more...are you seriously suggesting that Rove was coerced by his own sockpuppet?

Nobody is saying Rove was coerced. Cooper's stated policy was simply a safeguard against coercion.

Well, if someone's found guilty of spilling the beans, the existence of said beans is sort of a foregone conclusion

nobody has been found guilty yet, right?

Sounds like you suggested the possibility.

Perhaps a slightly different interpretation is possible. Come on, I know you've got the imagination.

That Johnson,Wilson, and Plame, who served their country in extraordinary fashions, have their integrity questioned

Now, am I beating up on any of them, bob?

Kleiman is sanguine:

How likely is it that Rove could be proven to have known that the United States was still taking "affirmative measures" to conceal Plame's identity? Not very, I'd say.

But Rove's conduct certainly meets the far less demanding elements of the Espionage Act: (1) possession of (2) information (3) relating to the national defense (4) which the person possessing it has reason to know could be used to damage the United States or aid a foreign nation and (5) wilful communication of that information to (6) a person not entitled to receive it.

Under the Espionage Act, the person doing the communicating need not actually know that revelation could be damaging; he needs only "reason to know." Classification is generally reason to know, and a security-clearance holder is responsible for knowing what information is classified. * * *

Judge Hogan told Judith Miller that the disclosure of information to her, and her potential use of it, were crimes. That couldn't have been true under the IIPA, since IIPA applies only to officials, not journalists, except where the journalist has a pattern of exposing agents' identities. It would be true under the Espionage Act. Ergo, the use of that statute must be in contemplation. * * *

Moreover, if Rove told Bush, or even McClellan, "I didn't discuss Valerie Plame with anyone," he violated 18 U.S.C. 1001, the law against making false statements to officials. That would still be true even if he managed to skirt around the truth, using misleading language such as "I never revealed her name" as part of a "scheme" to "cover up" a "material fact."

I'd say it's virtually certain that Rove committed one or more felonies, highly probable that he will be indicted, and more likely than not that he will be convicted. By pretending that only the IIPA is in play, the Bushites are setting the stage for denouncing Patrick Fitzgerald as a "runaway prosecutor" when he nails Rove for espionage and false statements.

And there's this remark:
Note also that a certain George W. Bush said two years ago that the disclosure of Plame's identity was "a criminal action."
Silly Bush, not to know that Plame wasn't covert!

dmbeater,

Whine all you want about me ignoring the facts. Please offer proof that Rover was the one true source of Plame as an undercover agent.

"Rove outed Plame"

Hilzoy makes a point taking issue with Rove stating that Plame worked at the CIA. But that is the only questionable action I can see so far.

But, as far as I am can tell right now it seems obviuos that Plame and her husband initiated a political attack against the Whitehouse. Her being outed was a result of her and her husband politicizing the Niger mission.

I am suggesting that:

--journalists have a good reason for not taking signed blanket waivers at face value, as Cooper's lawyer explained.

--I don't think journalists should override these policies or these agreements because they believe that Rove was acting to smear a whistleblower rather than acting as a whistleblower, Rove is a bad person, Rove pulls the brings and could never be in danger, etc. There are ethical reasons not to do this, as far as honoring your word, and practical reasons, as it would cause other sources not to trust journalists' promises of confidentiality in general and yours in particular.

"But Rove's conduct certainly meets the far less demanding elements of the Espionage Act: (1) possession of (2) information (3) relating to the national defense (4) which the person possessing it has reason to know could be used to damage the United States or aid a foreign nation and (5) wilful communication of that information to (6) a person not entitled to receive it."

Don't this really apply more to Valerie Plame in her attempt to undermine the President?

Her being outed was a result of her and her husband politicizing the Niger mission.

so, Rove's guilty. QED

Give it a REST, blogme. Instead of posing a (purportedly rhetorical?) question, how about EXPLAINING what evidence exists to incriminate Plame? For somebody who cried "evidence?" you're running a bit light.

That's going to need some explanation, blogme.

Katherine, I'm unconvinced. Blanket waivers from arbitrary people might be looked at askance, but come on. This is, after all, the guy pulling the strings, is it not?

Ah, I see others got there first.

Previewismyfriendpreviewismyfriendpreviewismyfriend.

again, if these policies are not applied consistently there will be a chilling effect. I have the "oh come on, he's KARL ROVE" impulse too, but I can see good reasons for deciding not to let that impulse govern. And Cooper himself has now explained all this in detail, so if you're saying you don't believe him you are essentially accusing him of lying.

Slartibartfast: Perhaps a slightly different interpretation is possible. Come on, I know you've got the imagination.

I thought that sort of thing was discouraged here. Care to spell out what you meant by "And you don't think that reeks of bullshit?" if not to suggest that it sounds like a lie?

Ah, Slarti, there's strength in numbers.

Slarti: I'll try to drum up a cite if you want, but my understanding is that for basically the reasons Katherine gave, reporters generally do not honor blanket waivers. They think: if my source calls me up and says, I release you from your promise, that's one thing; but if my source's boss (for instance) comes to all his employees and says, here, sign a waiver, then that's not the same, and should not be taken as a free uncoerced waiver. I think this is standard.

The interesting question, to me, is why Rove gave the more explicit waiver the day Cooper was due to testify. He could have given it before, or he could have not given it at all; instead, he did this.

I only just saw the statement from Cooper and his attorney about it, but: apparently his attorney initiated the call after seeing Rove's lawyer quoted here (WSJ, subscription only):

"But in an interview Monday, Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said his client "didn't disclose Valerie Plame's identification to anyone." Mr. Rove hasn't asked any reporter to treat him as a confidential source in the matter, Mr. Luskin said, "so if Matt Cooper is going to jail to protect a source, it's not Karl he's protecting." "

It was at that point that Cooper's lawyer called Luskin. S0: why did Rove agree? Maybe the damage was already done, since Time had turned over the notes. Maybe, despite the fact that Cooper's lawyer said otherwise, Luskin and/or Rove worried that a refusal would end up being public, especially since Time had demonstrated its unwillingness to be bound by its reporters' pledges of confidentiality. Who knows.

I do know this, though: that not taking the blanket waivers of confidentiality seriously is common practice; that Rove could have let Cooper off the hook earlier; that he didn't do so until after his lawyer decided to shoot his mouth off to the Journal, and say, essentially, that Rove was not the source Cooper was going to jail for and that of course the blanket waiver was perfectly serious, and Cooper's lawyer essentially called Rove's lawyer's bluff.

And Slarti: I'll try to find a cite for this too, but I seem to recall that it was Fitzgerald, not (e.g.) bush, who handed out the blanket waivers. I could understand Rove not feeling too coerced by, oh, the Secretary of Transportation, but Fitzgerald is another ball of wax. (I almost wrote 'baal of wax', which would have been amusing.)

Kleiman

Mark Kleiman on why the fine points of the IIPA...revealing a covert agent...are probably not even at issue and that there is positive evidence that Fitzgerald is likely seeking indictments under different felony statutes. Rove will be charged under the espionage statutes.

Her being outed was a result of her and her husband politicizing the Niger mission.

Oh, well, that makes it OK, then. As long as it was for a good reason.

Gromit, if it doesn't smell funny to you, you need to get your olfactory sense organs checked out. Dig it: Rove signs a waiver authorizing any and all press who've discussed this issue with him to reveal their discussions. Now, given that Rove is driving pretty much the entire WH, who's going to coerce such a waiver from him? I mean, this being a serious crime and all, Rove can just walk away. It'd be a career-ender, sure, but so would a few years in federal lockup.

No, none of this makes sense yet. Guess we'll have to wait for Cooper to write an article about it.

Anderson beat me to it.

The interesting question, to me, is why Rove gave the more explicit waiver the day Cooper was due to testify.

Maybe because Cooper's lawyer contacted Luskin the night before? Your whole last paragraph sort of falls apart when you consider this.

OTOH if Cooper considered the blanket waiver coerced, than (supposing Rove is guilty of something-or-other) any other waiver would have to be considered coerced. The pressure, you know. If Fitzgerald could coerce Rove to sign any waiver at all, could he not similarly influence him to selectively release Cooper?

Just to clarify, my position is this: if Plame was in fact NOC, and if Rove did in fact deliberately burn her, then (regardless of his motive or what anyone thinks about his justification) he has to do some time.

There's a lot of claims being made with extremely sloppy substantiation. Sometimes by me, even. I don't consider Kevin Drum's or Josh Marshall's or Hugh Hewitt's opinion (even the time-invariant ones) in the matter to equate to evidence. Sorry. I'm inconsistent, yet stubborn, and I doubt that it doesn't wear on y'all.

If Rove didn't do anything wrong, why isn't he proclaiming his innocence from the rooftops?

"I did not out a CIA op."

Seems easy enough. People who are under investigation - hell, people who're under indictment, and even actual defendants - have been known to claim they're innocent.

Why isn't Rove?

Umm, question for lawyers and the better-informed. Fitzgerald is not a special prosecutor appointed by Congress, but an appointee of the Justice Dept. Can Bush & Gonzalez simply fire Fitzgerald and shut the game down? There might a little heat and embarrassment, but nothing illegal? And Congress won't start hearings.

The explosion of talking-heads today might indicate that this WH ain't gonna take no indictments. And Fitzgerald might have bigger game than Rove in his sights.

And innocents like hilzoy aside, I believe, no matter the facts, no matter the cost, Rove will not be indicted. Having watched a more moral Whitehouse in '73 fire Special Prosecutors and Atty's General in droves.

What happens tothe coercion issue when the source flaunts the waiver, essentially using it as a way of proclaiming innocence?

Isn't it reasonable then for the journalist to assume that the privilege really had been waived? After all, you can't have it both ways. If you're going to brag about signing the waiver then you can't reasonably expect someone to act as if you signed under duress.

Slarti: perhaps Fitzgerald could have coerced Rove into saying: I selectively release Cooper. Of course, not knowing that Rove was Cooper's source back when he was handing out waivers might have been a problem, but I guess Fitzgerald might have handed out special personalized waivers covering each of the reporters he thought had gotten leaks to all of the people he thought might have done the leaking.

But that's actually sort of beside the point. What reporters do is: not take seriously any waiver they think is less than fully voluntary. And they do this precisely because they don't want to make it possible for prosecutors, employers, etc., to destroy confidentiality at will. I doubt Cooper would have accepted a waiver, general or specific, that Fitzgerald had directed Rove to sign, precisely because he wouldn't have had any reason to believe that Rove was voluntarily releasing him from his promise of confidentiality.

Cooper's lawyer didn't just ask for a specific waiver; he asked Luskin to certify that he had cleared it with Rove, told Luskin that he and Cooper would not publicize any refusal, and did a bunch of other things designed to ensure that Rove was acting of his own free will.

And you don't think that reeks of bullshit? Rove's lawyer and Rove both maintain that the waiver's legitimate and uncoerced...why would they do that, if Rove had something to hide?

It absolutely does not -- the logic of reliance on general waivers that might be coerced vs. specific waivers is compelling.

As Cooper made clear today in the press conference immediately following his testimony, he was willing to testify only after Rove gave him a specific waiver, which Rove was not willing to do until after Time turned over his written materials and leaked that Rove was Cooper's source, followed by Rove's lawyer then saying that he had no objection to Cooper testifying (which Cooper's lawyer read in the WSJ), which then led to the specific waiver in favor of Cooper that allowed his testimony.

Rove's specialized knowledge is handling (manipulating?) the media, and you think he was not aware of the significance between giving the general waiver that made no mention of Cooper versus the specific waiver in favor of Cooper? Or that Rove sat their clueless while Cooper's litigation wound through the courts, when Rove's specific waiver would have ended it all? Or that Rove's timing of giving the specific waiver only on the eve of Cooper going to jail was just coincidental? That is what reeks of bullshit.

If Rove didn't do anything wrong, why isn't he proclaiming his innocence from the rooftops?
Can Bush & Gonzalez simply fire Fitzgerald and shut the game down?

I'm going to merge these two. Disclaimer: I am not serious.

If Rove really is guilty, why hasn't Bush pulled a Nixon?

blogme writes: "But, as far as I am can tell right now it seems obviuos that Plame and her husband initiated a political attack against the Whitehouse."

Well, sometimes that's what you have to do in order to be loyal to your country and serve it to the best of your ability.

The President is not America.

BY: "Isn't it reasonable then for the journalist to assume that the privilege really had been waived?"

When I first heard about Rove's waiver, I was really surprised: it was the first thing I had ever heard about him that was good. Then, later coverage made me think that Bernard's suggestion might have been exactly what happened: that Cooper's lawyer saw the WSJ interview, told Cooper, and then (whether because Cooper really didn't want to go to jail or because it's a bit much to see Rove's lawyer proclaiming his client's innocence (when you know he's your source) and relying on this waiver (which you and he know you won't honor), Cooper and his lawyer called Luskin, asked: so does that blanket waiver apply to Cooper? at which point Luskin could hardly have said no.

But Cooper's statement indicates that they didn't do that; that they did make efforts to ensure that it was a real waiver.

"If Rove really is guilty, why hasn't Bush pulled a Nixon?"

Nixon didn't pull a Nixon, IIRC, until the trucks literally pulled up to the WH ready for the tapes. Last possible moment.

blogme:

Well, I see you did not respond concerning the facts.

As for this,

Please offer proof that Rover was the one true source of Plame as an undercover agent.

"Rove outed Plame"

Hilzoy makes a point taking issue with Rove stating that Plame worked at the CIA.

So you want proof that Rove outed Plame, but then acknowledge that Hilzoy made a good point about Rove outing Plame.

Makes sense to me.

Or is your point whether or not Rove was the "one true source", (what ever that means)?

Sorry the facts are causing you so much trouble.

told Luskin that he and Cooper would not publicize any refusal

Of what use is that? If Rove doesn't waive, Cooper doesn't testify, and the game is up. Are you saying there's some leverage that vanishes if Fitzgerald's not standing behind Rove's shoulder?

the logic of reliance on general waivers that might be coerced vs. specific waivers is compelling

If it is, I haven't seen a good case for it. By now, it's obvious which journalists are being ferreted out, and the general waiver degenerates into two specific waivers without changing anything at all. If Rove's on the hook for something, and a general waiver could be seen as coercive, Fitzgerald's got a much more leverage to extract whatever waivers he wants. Or is there something I'm missing, here? What's Rove got to lose by just saying that the original waiver's going to have to do?

Slartibartfast: ...are you seriously suggesting that Rove was coerced by his own sockpuppet?

...

Now, given that Rove is driving pretty much the entire WH, who's going to coerce such a waiver from him?

Are you asserting that Karl Rove doesn't serve at the pleasure of the President, Slarti?

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