[eDebate] novak-rove cover story in the mainstream media today!!!
Thu May 25 19:00:17 CDT 2006
handcuff handcuff handcuffs and more handcuffs goin 2 da white house
ha ha ha what a glorious occassion --- the king of smear gets assfucked on
the national news --- escalate radicals, let's bury these fucking criminals.
article confirms truthout claim that rove has already received indictment
for lying and fitz is only waiting to see if a higher charge of obstruction
of justice is going to be announced simultaneously at the immanent press
death conference. republicans are cheater and fascists and i hate them
more than anybody else. what a bunch of immoral dicks running the gov't
CIA LEAK INVESTIGATION
Rove-Novak Call Was Concern To Leak Investigators
By Murray Waas, National Journal
? National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had
asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert
CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House
senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being
harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of
the federal grand jury testimony of both men.
In the early days of the CIA leak probe, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft
was briefed on a crucial conversation between Robert Novak and Karl Rove.
Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that
conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney
General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation
in fall 2003, according to officials with direct knowledge of those
Ashcroft oversaw the CIA-Plame leak probe for three months until he recused
himself and allowed Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to be named to
take over the investigation on December 30, 2003. Ashcroft received routine
briefings about the status of the investigation from October to December of
Sources said that Ashcroft received a special briefing on the highly
sensitive issue of the September 29 conversation between Novak and Rove
because of the concerns of federal investigators that a well-known
journalist might have been involved in an effort to not only protect a
source but also work in tandem with the president's chief political adviser
to stymie the FBI.
Rove testified to the grand jury that during his telephone call with Novak,
the columnist said words to the effect: "You are not going to get burned"
and "I don't give up my sources," according to people familiar with his
testimony. Rove had been one of the "two senior administration" officials
who had been sources for the July 14, 2003, column in which Novak outed
Plame as an "agency operative." Rove and Novak had talked about Plame on
July 9, five days before Novak's column was published.
Rove also told the grand jury, according to sources, that in the September
29 conversation, Novak referred to a 1992 incident in which Rove had been
fired from the Texas arm of President George H.W. Bush's re-election effort;
Rove lost his job because the Bush campaign believed that he had been the
source for a Novak column that criticized the campaign's internal workings.
Rove told the grand jury that during the September 29 call, Novak said he
would make sure that nothing similar would happen to Rove in the CIA-Plame
leak probe. Rove has testified that he recalled Novak saying something like,
"I'm not going to let that happen to you again," according to those familiar
with the testimony. Rove told the grand jury that the inference he took away
from the conversation was that Novak would say that Rove was not a source of
information for the column about Plame. Rove further testified that he
believed he might not have been the source because when Novak mentioned to
Rove that Plame worked for the CIA, Rove simply responded that he had heard
the same information.
Asked during his grand jury appearance his reaction to the telephone call,
Rove characterized it as a "curious conversation" and didn't know what to
make of it, according to people familiar with his testimony.
James Hamilton, an attorney for Novak, said he could not comment on the
ongoing CIA leak probe. Ashcroft, now in private practice, did not respond
through a spokesperson to inquiries for this article. A spokesman for
Fitzgerald said that the special prosecutor's office would not comment on
A spokesman for Rove, Mark Corallo, said, "Karl Rove has never urged anyone
directly or indirectly to withhold information from the special counsel or
Rove, according to attorneys involved in the case, volunteered the
information about the September 29 call during his initial interview with
FBI agents in the fall of 2003.
Neither Rove nor Novak has been charged in the leak case, and legal sources
say that Fitzgerald faces an especially high legal hurdle in bringing
charges involving a private conversation between two people.
Foremost among the reasons that federal investigators harbored suspicions
about the September 29 conversation was its timing. Three days earlier, NBC
broke the news that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to launch a
probe into the leaking of Plame's identity. During the noon news briefing at
the White House on September 29, various reporters asked spokesman Scott
McClellan repeatedly whether Justice was indeed investigating the Plame
"If someone leaked classified information of the nature that has been
reported, absolutely, the president would want it to be looked into,"
McClellan responded. "And the Justice Department would be the appropriate
agency to do so."
In fact, Justice was already preparing to announce such a criminal probe,
and the department made the formal announcement the following day, September
Stanley Brand, a Washington lawyer who has represented numerous clients in
several special-prosecutor investigations, said in an interview: "It is the
better part of wisdom and standing instruction that witnesses to an
investigation do not talk to other witnesses about the case when the case is
still pending. It raises the inference that they are comparing each other's
recollections and altering or shaping each other's testimony."
Brand has advised his clients not to talk to other witnesses in federal
criminal investigations, he said, because there is a "thin line between
refreshing each other's recollections ... and suborning someone to lie under
Mark Feldstein, the director of journalism programs at George Washington
University, said that Novak apparently acted outside traditional
journalistic standards by reaching out to Rove after he believed that a
criminal investigation had commenced: "A journalist's natural instinct is to
protect his source. Were there no criminal investigation, it would have been
more than appropriate for a reporter to say to a source, 'Don't worry, I'm
not going to out you.' But if there is a criminal investigation under way,
you can't escape the inference that you are calling to coordinate your
stories. You go very quickly from being a stand-up reporter to impairing a
A second reason that federal investigators were suspicious, sources said, is
that they believed that after the September 29 call, Novak shifted his
account of his July 9, 2003, conversation with Rove to show that
administration officials had a passive role in leaking Plame's identity.
On July 22, 2003 -- eight days after the publication of Novak's column on
Plame -- Newsday reporters Timothy Phelps and Knut Royce quoted Novak as
telling them in an interview that it was White House officials who
encouraged him to write about Plame. "I didn't dig it out, it was given to
me," Newsday quoted Novak as saying about Plame. "They thought it was
significant. They gave me the name, and I used it."
If Novak's interview with Phelps and Royce was accurate, sources said, it
suggests that Rove was actively involved in trying to expose Plame's CIA
Novak did not speak publicly on the matter again until September 29 -- later
on the same day as his conversation with Rove in which he assured the
president's chief political aide that he would protect him in the
forthcoming Justice Department investigation. What Novak said publicly was
different from the earlier account in Newsday:
"I have been beleaguered by television networks around the world, but I am
reserving my say for Crossfire," Novak said on his own CNN program, which is
no longer on the air. "Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak
this. In July, I was interviewing a senior administration official on
Ambassador [Joseph C.] Wilson's report [on his Niger trip], when [the
official] told me the trip was inspired by his wife, a CIA employee working
on weapons of mass destruction. Another senior official told me the same
"As a professional journalist with 46 years' experience in Washington, I do
not reveal confidential sources. When I called the CIA in July, they
confirmed Mrs. Wilson's involvement in a mission for her husband on a
secondary basis, who is -- he is a former Clinton administration official.
They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her
or anybody else."
In explaining the discrepancy between what he told Newsday a week after he
outed Plame and everything he said later regarding Plame, Novak has said
that Phelps "badly misquoted" him. Phelps, who is Newsday's Washington
bureau chief, denied that, saying he took accurate notes of his interview
with Novak and reported exactly what Novak told him.
Novak's quotes in Newsday -- that administration officials had encouraged
him to write that Plame worked for the CIA, and that she played some role in
sending her husband, Wilson, to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq had
tried to buy uranium from the African country -- were consistent with the
later accounts of the other journalists who had spoken to White House
officials for their stories on Plame. Those reporters included Judith Miller
of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine. Government
witnesses who have testified in Fitzgerald's investigation have consistently
told that story, too, sources said.
Novak's disclosure of Plame's covert CIA job was part of a broader White
House effort to discredit Wilson, who had alleged that the Bush
administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case
to go to war with Iraq.
To blunt Wilson's criticism, Rove; I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the then-chief
of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney; and at least one other senior
administration official mounted an intensive effort alleging, among other
things, that Wilson's CIA-sponsored mission to Niger amounted to nepotism.
Rove, Libby, and at least a third administration official told Novak,
Cooper, Miller, and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post about Plame's CIA
job. Rove has said he discussed Plame with Novak and Cooper.
A third reason that investigators are said to be concerned about a possible
cover story was the grand jury testimony of both Novak and Rove about their
July 9, 2003, conversation. On that day, Novak was still reporting for his
July 14 column.
Novak and Rove have testified that it was Novak, not Rove, who raised the
subject of Plame's CIA job and Wilson's trip to Niger, according to people
familiar with the testimony of both men.
Rove has testified that he simply told the columnist that he had heard much
the same information about Plame, which perhaps was nothing more than an
unsubstantiated rumor. Novak's account of the July 9 call matched Rove's.
Investigators were suspicious that, if this version was true, the columnist
would have relied on Rove as one of his two sources to out Plame as an
Ashcroft was advised during the briefing that investigators had strong
reservations about the veracity of the Novak and Rove accounts of the July 9
conversation. If Rove had simply said that he heard the same information
that Novak did, investigators wondered why Novak would have relied on such
an offhand comment as the basis for writing the column. Investigators also
wondered why Novak had not at least asked Rove about what else he knew about
Plame, sources said.
Geneva Overholser, a journalism professor at the University of Missouri,
questioned the propriety of Novak's using Rove as a source on the Plame
story if, in fact, Rove had passed along only unsubstantiated gossip.
"It's very hard for me to believe that any journalist would write a story of
such importance based on someone making an offhand comment that 'I heard
that too,'" Overholser, who is a former chair of the Pulitzer Prize board
and a former editor of The Des Moines Register, said in an interview. "A
comment like that could mean that it's just the gossip going around. That
means something very different than an affirmation to go with a story. If
that was the basis for Novak's story, it was the slimmest of reeds."
Weighing the Facts
Rove and Novak, investigators suspect, might have devised a cover story to
protect Rove because the grand jury testimony of both men appears to support
Rove's contentions about how he learned about Plame. Rove has testified that
he did not learn that Plame was a CIA operative from classified information,
that he was not part of a campaign with Libby or other White House officials
to discredit Wilson or out Plame, and that any information that he provided
Novak and Cooper about Plame's CIA job was only unsubstantiated gossip.
According to sources, Rove told the FBI and testified to the federal grand
jury that he first heard that Plame worked for the CIA from a person whose
name he could not remember. That person, he said, might have been a
journalist, although he was not certain. Rove has also said that he could
not recall whether the conversation took place in person or over the
Rove has testified that he heard more about Plame from Novak, who had
originally called him on July 9 about an entirely different matter. It was
only at the end of their conversation that Rove heard that Plame worked for
the CIA and had some role in sending her husband on his CIA-sponsored trip
to Niger, Rove has testified. Having been told this information by Novak,
Rove told the FBI, he simply said he had heard the same thing.
Rove told the FBI that on July 11, 2003, two days after his conversation
with Novak, he spoke privately with Libby at the end of a White House senior
staff meeting. According to Rove's account, he told Libby of his
conversation with Novak, whereupon Libby told him that he, too, had heard
the same information from journalists who were writing about the Niger
Rove has testified that based on his conversation with the first person he
had spoken to (whom he cannot identify), what Novak told him, and what Libby
said, he had come to believe that Plame might have worked for the CIA.
The grand jury indicted Libby in the CIA leak case last October on five
counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice for
attempting to conceal his own role in leaking information about Plame to the
media. Central to those charges are allegations by Fitzgerald that Libby
first learned that Plame worked for the CIA from Vice President Cheney and
other government officials, not journalists.
On July 11, 2003, the same day Rove says he spoke to Libby, Rove told Time
magazine's Cooper that Plame worked for the CIA. Although Rove has said he
has little recollection of his conversation with Cooper, he has testified
that similar to his conversation with Novak, he passed along to Cooper the
same rumors about Plame he had originally heard from journalists.
Fitzgerald is still investigating Rove for possible perjury and obstruction
of justice for Rove's failure to disclose in his initial FBI interview and
his initial grand jury testimony that he had provided information about
Plame to Cooper. Rove has said that his failure to disclose his conversation
with Cooper was because of a faulty memory.
As Fitzgerald considers whether to bring charges against Rove, central to
any final determination will be whether Rove's omissions were purposeful.
Dan Richman, a law school professor at Fordham University and a former
federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, says that perjury
and obstruction cases are difficult to bring. "In many instances, you almost
have to literally take the jury inside a defendant's head to demonstrate
their intent," he said.
As of now, it appears unlikely that Fitzgerald will bring charges related to
the September 29 conversation, according to Richman and other legal experts.
Even if the prosecutor and his investigative team conclude that Rove and
Novak did indeed devise a cover story to protect Rove, it is simply too
difficult to prove what happened in a private conversation between two
A longtime friend of Rove, who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the CIA
leak case but who knows both Rove and Novak well, doubts that Fitzgerald
could get a conviction -- "as long as neither [Novak nor Rove] breaks, and
there is no reason for them to, no matter how much evidence there is. These
are two people who go way back, and they are going to look out for each
Richman says that a grand jury could consider circumstantial evidence in
weighing whether to bring charges, so long as there is also other
substantial evidence, and that the prosecutor can present that evidence at
"It's possible that prosecutors would view their [September 29] conversation
as the beginning of a conspiracy to obstruct justice, given that they had
reason to believe that an investigation would soon be under way," says
Richman. "It's even more likely that this conversation would help
prosecutors shed light on Rove's motivations and intent when he later spoke
-- Previous coverage of pre-war intelligence and the CIA leak investigation
from Murray Waas.
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