Karl Rove: Outing Valerie Plame
Beginning in August 2003, it was suspected—and widely rumored—that Karl Rove, Assistant to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to George W. Bush, was responsible for outing Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA agent.
On July 11, 2006, Robert Novak, "a conservative columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper, admitted publicly for the first time that Mr Rove, a close adviser to George Bush, had been one of his sources for a story outing CIA agent Valerie Plame," David Fickling reported in the Guardian Unlimited (UK). "Publicly naming a CIA operative is a criminal offence in the US."
See Novak's July 12, 2006, "My Role in the Valerie Plame Leak Story" at Human Events Online.
Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald "met with the grand jury investigating the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson for several hours Friday [December 16, 2005]. Short of a last minute intervention by Rove's attorney, Fitzgerald is expected to ask a grand jury-possibly as soon as next week--to indict Rove for making false statements to the FBI and Justice Department investigators in October 2003, lawyers close to the case say," Jason Leopold reported in the December 17, 2005, CounterPunch.
Rove Gave Bush Personal Assurances He Was Not the Leaker
In the fall of 2003, Rove "personally assured" Bush "that he had not disclosed to anyone in the press" that Valerie Plame, wife of an Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, was a covert CIA operative, "according to legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the accounts that both Rove and Bush independently provided to federal prosecutors," Murray Waas, wrote in the National Journal, October 7, 2005.
Truth or Consequences
At the time, White House spokesman Scott McClellan "was so adamant in his denials that he told reporters the president himself knew that Rove wasn't involved in the leak.
"'How does (Bush) know that?' a reporter asked.
"'I'm not going to get into conversations that the president has with advisers or staff,' McClellan replied." 
"If Rove purposely misled the president, the FBI, or the White House press secretary, a reasonable prosecutor might construe such acts as 'overt acts in furtherance of a criminal plan'," Waas said.
White House Denials Collapse
In October 2004, Rove testified before a federal grand jury regarding the leaking of national security information to a news reporter in an attempt to silence Wilson.
White House denials collapsed July 3, 2005,' "amid the disclosure of Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper's conversations in July 2003 about Wilson's wife with Rove and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff." Rove was identified as the source of the leak in notes provided to Newsweek by Time magazine White House reporter Cooper. 
Rove Testified 4th Time
Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is wrapping up his "investigation into whether Rove, Libby or other White House aides divulged Plame's identity in violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act ... [and] examining whether aides mishandled classified information, made false statements or obstructed justice."
Rove was to testify to the grand jury for the fourth time. "Prosecutors told him they no longer can assure that he'll escape indictment. ... Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, declined to comment [October 7, 2005,] on the specifics of the discussion with Bush. But he confirmed that his client maintains — then and now — he did not engage in an effort to disclose Plame's identity." 
CIA Probe & Leak Investigation
- John W. Dean, "The Bush Administration Adopts a Worse-than-Nixonian Tactic: The Deadly Serious Crime Of Naming CIA Operatives," TruthOut, August 15, 2003.
- "Analysis: Two Ways to Look at Rove Controversy. Legal and Political Questions Hang Over Karl Rove's Involvement in the Leak Investigation," ABC News, July 12, 2005.
- Richard Simon and Richard B. Schmitt, "Democrats Take Aim at Rove in Leak Case. Some lawmakers call for action to be taken against Bush's aide. The White House says little," Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2005.
- Tom Brune, "Dems urge Rove to clear air on leak," New York Newsday, July 12, 2005.
- Mark A.R. Kleinman, "The Plame Game: No, it's not all about the Intelligence Identities Protection Act," markarkleinman.com, July 13, 2005.
- John Byrne, "Senate Democratic leaders call for White House Rove inquiry," The Raw Story, July 13, 2005: "Democratic Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to President Bush today calling for an internal investigation into whether his adviser Karl Rove leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent."
- Jim VandeHei, "GOP rallies to defend Rove as Democrats step up call for ouster," Seattle Times, July 13, 2005.
- Dan Froomkin, "Won't Defend? Then Attack!" Washington Post, July 13, 2005.
- David Corn, "Rove Did Leak Classified Information," The Nation, July 13, 2005.
- "Democrats will file Resolution of Inquiry on outed agent," The Raw Story, July 13, 2005.
- Jim VandeHei and Carol Leonnig, "Time Reporter Testifies About Contacts With Rove. Bush Cautions Against Prejudging Leak Case," Washington Post, July 14, 2005.
- Garrett M. Graff, "Plame Leak: Rove Rumors Continue," Washington Post, July 14, 2005.
- Ron Fournier, "GOP Nervously Eyeing Rove and CIA Probe," Associated Press, July 14, 2005.
- Kevin Diaz, "Coleman may lead defense of Rove," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, July 14, 2005: "Republican officials hinted Wednesday that Sen. Norm Coleman could play a leading role in responding to Democrats' attacks against White House aide Karl Rove. ... The Minnesota Republican downplayed a report in the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, that he has been designated by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to be one of Rove's 'principal defenders in Congress.'"
- John W. Dean, "It Appears That Karl Rove Is In Serious Trouble," FindLaw's Writ, July 15, 2005.
- John Solomon, "Rove said to testify in CIA leak case," Associated Press (kentucky.com), October 6, 2005: "Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, said that it was unusual for a witness to be called back to the grand jury four times and that the prosecutor's legally required warning to Rove before this next appearance is 'an ominous sign' for the presidential adviser."
- Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei, "Rove to Testify Again in Grand Jury's CIA Leak Probe. Prosecutor's Warning That Bush Adviser Could Be Indicted Suggests New Information May Have Emerged," Washington Post, October 7, 2005: "A source close to Rove said Bush's chief political adviser and his legal team are now genuinely concerned he could face charges."
- David Johnston, "Prosecutor in Leak Inquiry Orders Rove to Return Again," New York Times, October 7, 2005: "Mr. Fitzgerald's conversations with lawyers in recent days have cast a cloud over the inquiry, sweeping away the confidence once expressed by a number of officials and their lawyers who have said that he was unlikely to find any illegality" and "Several lawyers who have been involved in the case expressed surprise and concern over the recent turn of events and are increasingly convinced that Mr. Fitzgerald could be poised to charge someone with a crime for discussing with journalists the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer."
- Murray Waas, "Rove Assured Bush He Was Not Leaker," National Journal, October 7, 2005.
- Joe Conason, "Rove's nightmare. If Karl Rove told federal officials in 2003 he wasn't involved in outing Valerie Plame, he could face charges," Salon, October 7, 2005. Preview or subscription required.
- "CIA Leak: Karl Rove and the Case of the Missing E-mail," Newsweek, October 17, 2005 issue; posted October 10, 2005.
- "George Bush promised that he would fire the leaker. Now that Karl Rove has been revealed as the leaker, what will Bush do? Obviously, he'll ask Karl Rove what to do." --Paul Krassner, The Huffington Post, July 12, 2005.
- "If this was a Democratic White House, we'd have Congressional hearings in a Second." --Tim Russert, NBC's Today Show, July 12, 2005.
- "It's disappointing that once again, so many Democrat leaders are taking their political cues from the far-left, Moveon wing of the party. The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks." --RNC Chairman Kenneth B. Mehlman, July 12, 2005.
- "Let me remind you, the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war. And how America was misled into that war.... enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove and others deputized by him amounted to an angry act of retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the President of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.
- "The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in very large scandal: the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war." --Daniel Shorr, NPR, July 13, 2005.
- "The GOP's propaganda technicians are filling in some of the details of the mirror universe they're trying to create -- the one in which Turdblossom is the noble whistleblower and Joe Wilson and his wife are the sleazy insiders spreading lies and disinformation. And since everything has to be ass backwards in the Republican reality, we're now being told that Wilson, not Rove, is the 'leaker' and Dick Cheney, not Valerie Plame, the dedicated public servant damaged by the leak." --Tom Tomorrow, This Modern World, July 13, 2005.
- "Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.
- "And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason." --Paul Krugman, New York Times, July 15, 2005.
"Reporter Michael Isikoff has obtained a copy of an email that Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper sent his bureau chief, Michael Duffy, on July 11, 2003--three days before conservative columnist Bob Novak first published the leak that outed CIA officer Valerie Wilson/Plame. In that email, Cooper wrote that he had spoken to Rove on 'double super secret background' and that Rove had told him that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's 'wife...apparently works at the agency on wmd issues.' 'Agency' means CIA. Read the full Newsweek piece here, ... There now is clear-cut evidence that Rove was involved in--if not the chief architect of--the actions that led to the outing of Plame/Wilson. If he's not in severe legal trouble, he ought to be in political peril." --David Corn, July 10, 2005.
- Michael Isikoff, "Matt Cooper's Source. What Karl Rove told Time magazine's reporter," Newsweek, July 18, 2005 (issue); posted July 10, 2005.
- "Bush aide Rove was Time reporter's source-Newsweek," Reuters, July 10, 2005.
- David Corn, "It's Here! Newsweek Does Nail Rove," davidcorn.com, July 10, 2005.
- "July 3, 2005: Rove’s Lawyer Lies To Bloomberg," Think Progress, July 10, 2005.
- Laura Rozen, "Newsweek's Mike Isikoff has gotten ahold of Time's Matt Cooper's emails revealing Rove as his original source on Joe Wilson's wife working for the CIA," War and Peace, July 10, 2005: "I find it fascinating that Rove was not only campaigning to discredit Wilson, but that he was pushing so hard to legitimate the bogus Iraq-Niger uranium information, just days before the administration capitulated and said it shouldn't have used that language in Bush's SOTU." See Bush's 16 words.
- Michael Isikoff, "The Rove Factor? Time magazine talked to Bush's guru for Plame story," Newsweek, July 11, 2005 (edition) (accessed July 3, 2005): "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. ... 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."
- "Karl Rove named as a source of Plame leak," wikinews, July 3, 2005.
- Howard Fineman, "Rove at War. He rose using tactics his foes are turning against him. But never bet against Karl Rove," Newsweek, July 17, 2005 (issue).
The Rovian "Frog-March"
- Lawrence O'Donnell, "The One Very Good Reason Karl Rove Might Be Indicted," The Huffington Post, July 7, 2005.
- David Corn, "Time for Rove Withdrawal?" The Huffington Report, July 8, 2005.
- David Corn, "New Explosive Rove Revelation To Come? Time to Frog-March?" davidcorn.com, July 9, 2005.
- John Aravosis, "It's irrelevant if Karl Rove broke that one particular law" and "Something's not quite right about the Rove story," AMERICAblog, July 10, 2005.
- Roger Ailes, "Frogmarch to the Right," rogerailes.blogspot.com, July 10, 2005.
- Adam Entous, "Democrats urge Bush to fire Rove in leak scandal," Reuters, July 11, 2005.
- Timothy Noah, "Turd Blossom Must Go. There is no moral case for keeping Karl Rove on the government payroll," Slate, July 11, 2005.
- Jan Frel, "Is Karl Rove Screwed, or Not?" AlterNet, July 11, 2005: "For once, Bush or Rove or somebody in this administration may get an uppercut that keeps them down on the mat, or at least out for an eight-count."
- Mark Memmmott, "Dems call for action against Rove after leak report," USA Today, July 11, 2005.
- Tim Grieve, War Room: "Why Karl Rove must go" and "The shifting stories of Karl Rove," Salon, July 11, 2005. Requires subscription or preview.
- Steven Thomma, "Rove disclosure puts Bush in bind. He had promised to punish source of leak," Detroit Free Press, July 12, 2005.
- War Room: "Rove, Plame and the firing offense," Salon, July 12, 2005. Requires subscription or preview.
- Byron York, "Lawyer: Cooper 'Burned' Karl Rove. Rove’s attorney talks to NRO," National Review, July 12, 2005.
- Press Release, July 13, 2005: "All Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) today joined Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), the only New England Member of HPSCI, to call on President George Bush to revoke White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove’s security clearances and access to classified information. In a letter to the President, all nine Democrats on the Committee urged him to take immediate action."
- Jane Roh, "Can Bush Survive Without Rove?" Fox News, July 14, 2005.
- Dan Froomkin "A Compelling Story" Washington Post, March 31, 2006
- Tom McGuire "The Ashcroft Recusal", Just One Minute, June 8, 2006.
The White House Press Corps
- On July 6, 2005, Think Progress asked "Why Is The White House Press Corps Ignoring Rove?"
- "Yesterday, McClellan held a press conference and no one asked him about Karl Rove’s role in outing undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame.
- "Day 6: WH Press Corps Silent on Rove," Think Progress, July 8, 2005: "The White House just released the transcript of today’s Gaggle. ... For the fourth straight time since his lawyer admitted that Rove was one of Matt Cooper’s sources, no member of the White House press corps asked a question about Rove’s role. (And there are plenty of questions to ask.) ... A major figure in the White House is deeply entangled in a major scandal. Why is the White House press corps ignoring the story?"
- "Why Is The White House Press Corps Ignoring Rove?" Think Progress, July 6, 2005.
Press Silent No More
- Evan Derkacz, "Red Rove-r, red rover is that the press coming over?" with video courtesy Crooks and Liars and full transcript of White House gaggle from Think Progress, AlterNet blog, July 11, 2005: "In today's press conference with W.H. spokesman Scotty McClellan, the press came alive. Will their pens be so sparkly?"
- John Aravosis, "Holy crap, MSM beating up on Karl Rove at the WH daily briefing today," AMERICAblog, July 11, 2005.
- Billmon, "Cat Got His Tongue"; "Silent Running"; and "Vouching for Karl," Whiskey Bar, July 11, 2005.
- Michael Hedges, "White House mum, critics howl over Rove's role in CIA leak. President's spokesman had repeatedly said the political aide wasn't involved," Houston Chronicle, July 11, 2005.
- Tim Grieve, "On Rove, Scott McClellan is suddenly silent", Salon, July 11, 2005. Requires subscription or preview.
- David Corn, "White House Stonewalls on Rove Scandal," The Nation, July 11, 2005.
- Dana Milbank, "Spokesman Holds Tongue During Intense Grilling," Washington Post, July 12, 2005.
- Pete Yost, "White House Won't Comment on Rove, Leak," Associated Press, July 12, 2005.
- Mike Allen and Dan Balz, "Bush Aide Deflects Questions On Rove. Democrats Seek Firing in Leak Case," Washington Post, July 12, 2005.
- Tim Russert, "Russert: If this was a Democratic White House, we'd have Congressional hearings in a Second," NBC's Today Show, July 12, 2005; video links (WMP and QT) posted on Crooks and Liars website.
- Brian, "'Rove This, Rove That' In Briefing Room," MediaBistro.com, July 12, 2005.
- Garrett M. Graff, Fishbowl DC: "'Blood in the Water'"; "Anticipation"; and "Did He or Didn't He?" MediaBistro.com, July 12, 2005: "Today was another small moment for history too: The fourth row of the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House today held both Fishbowl and Eric Brewer of BTC News, making this the first day that both of the independent bloggers credentialed to the White House have been present at a briefing at the same time." (Blog report follows.)
- "Press Batters McClellan on Rove/Plame Link," Editors & Publishers, July 12, 2005.
- Richard W. Stevenson, "White House Silence on Rove's Role in Leak Enters 2nd Day," Washington Post, July 12, 2005.
- "Another day: Press savages White House over Rove, again," The Raw Story, July 12, 2005: "From the White House press briefing -- full text here (with video link). Yesterday's press briefing, at which a reporter declared the failure to answer questions 'ridiculous.'"
- "Rove evasions," Boston Globe, July 13, 2005: " ... on Monday, when McClellan ducked 61 press questions -- including 'Did Karl Rove commit a crime?' -- saying that he was clamming up because of an 'ongoing investigation.' Never mind that McClellan had no such qualms more than a year ago when he defended Rove stoutly despite the fact that the investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was ongoing then."
- Harry Shearer, "The Nub," The Huffington Post, July 13, 2005: "Despite the admirable cloaking of all this in the garment of 'the American public,' the White House press corp's anger is based on one thing: Scott McClellan lied to the Whitte House press corps. The President, the Vice President, the Army and Navy football teams, the Secretary of State--all of them can lie to any or all of the planets in the solar system, and hey, that's politics. But, stand at that podium, and lie to those people, and let them eventually find out about it, and, brother, you got trouble."
- Murray Waas,, "Front-Page Fronts. The Times and the Post are publicizing Rove's version of events. But is his story true?" The American Prospect, July 15, 2005.
- Murray Waas Exclusive: Plame Game Over?," American Prospect, April 6, 2005.
- Murray Waas, "Why Novak Called Rove," National Journal, December 16, 2005.
- Dan Froomkin, "A Compelling Story," White House Watch Blog/Washington Post, March 31, 2006.
- Murray Waas, "Cheney's Admissions to the CIA Leak Prosecutor and FBI", Dec. 23, 2008.
Related SourceWatch Resources
- Bush administration flip flops
- Bush administration leaks
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- Trial of Scooter Libby