Tuesday :: Jul 5, 2005

Treasongate and Karl Rove (Part III)

by eriposte

UPDATE: Make sure you read the excellent commentary/roundup by Swopa - here and here.

Continuing from my previous post, the curious case of Time magazine's Matt Cooper and the New York Times' Judith Miller had me thinking quite a bit yesterday. I started to write up a post with my observations this morning and decided I would wrap them up now. In the meantime a bunch of other bloggers have already said most of what I wanted to say - so I'm going to just do a roundup here.

First, something I have been meaning to comment on - the whole matter of the denial of the Supreme Court appeal. I haven't gotten much time to write about the claim that the Supreme Court's decision to not take on the Matt Cooper/Judith Miller appeal represented a "chilling" effect on the First Amendment and press credibility, but I have to say that the arguments advanced in favor of Cooper (and Miller) were quite weak. The idea of protecting sources and their identities is extremely important, but it's not clear to me why the notion of protecting powerful criminals in Government retaliating against whistleblowers is considered as important as protecting whistleblowers against retaliation from powerful criminals in Government. That kind of equivalence turns the press into what we call a propaganda organ, does it not? It appears that many reasonable people (and experts) agree that the First Amendment defense of Miller and Cooper, in this particular case, is crock.

What makes the whole Miller/Cooper generated brouohaha even more bizarre is that:

I can at least try to "understand" Cooper's protests since he may have talked to other sources who did not waive confidentiality. But once Time magazine turned over his notes, I see no reason for him to continue to defy the court. Miller's case is clearly ridiculous. At face value, it appears that Miller is up to her usual shenanigans again. Now, we hear from the Washington Post (via Atrios) that:
Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee.
Hmm. Can I ask a question I wanted to ask yesterday?
Dear Matt and Judy, can you please confirm whether you called your source(s) (in question) or whether the source(s) called you? (No need to name names). Thanks.
In the meantime, the weird statements of Karl Rove's lawyer have gotten some attention from Lawrence O'Donnell and the Progress Report. The key points...

O'Donnell's questions for Rove's lawyer:

Q: You’ve said Rove is not a target of the investigation. Is he a subject of the investigation?

Q: Since Time delivered its e-mails to the prosecutor on Friday, have you asked the prosecutor whether Rove’s status has changed? From witness to subject? Or subject to target?

Q: You told Newsweek that your client “never knowingly disclosed classified information.” Did Rove ever unknowingly disclose classified information?

[On #1 and #2, perhaps Mr. O'Donnell read my post or that from Daily Kos? :-)]

As the folks at the Progress Report say:

WHEN DID YOU FIRST SPEAK TO JOURNALISTS ABOUT PLAME?: Though Rove's involvement in the smear campaign against Wilson and Plame is well known, the timeline is still uncertain. The new statements from Rove's lawyer only further muddy the picture. In October 2003, Rove reportedly admitted to the grand jury "that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding [Plame] with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists," part of an "aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife." According to investigative journalist Murray Waas, Rove told the grand jury that "he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in [Robert] Novak's column." But according to Rove's attorney Robert Luskin, "Rove spoke to Cooper three or four days before Novak's column appeared." What, then, did Rove share with Cooper?

WHAT EXPLAINS THE SUSPICIOUS WORDING OF YOUR LAWYER'S STATEMENT?: In interviews with Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times, Robert Luskin repeated two points: that 1) Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and 2) that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." The wording of this explanation itself raises questions. If point #2 is the whole truth, and Rove never did tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA, Luskin would have no need to state point #1, that Rove had not "knowingly disclosed classified information." So why have Luskin's statements -- which were crafted with the utmost sensitivity, one can be sure -- worded the way that they are?

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