[eDebate] novak-rove cover story in the mainstream media today!!!

Jake Stromboli infracaninophile
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


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 
that year.

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 
the matter.

A spokesman for Rove, Mark Corallo, said, "Karl Rove has never urged anyone 
directly or indirectly to withhold information from the special counsel or 
testify falsely."

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.

Investigators' Concerns
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 
criminal investigation."

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 
"agency operative."

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 
to investigators."

-- Previous coverage of pre-war intelligence and the CIA leak investigation 
from Murray Waas.

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