Monday :: Jul 18, 2005

Treasongate: The Plame Name Game

by eriposte

UPDATE: If this NYT report on Rove's alleged testimony to the grand jury is accurate, then Rove's claim of not knowing Plame's name before he spoke to Cooper is/was false.
In one of the original pro-Rove leaks from the ongoing investigation, Murray Waas reported in The American Prospect thusly (bold text is my emphasis):

But Rove also adamantly insisted to the FBI [according to the leaker] that he was not the administration official who leaked the information that Plame was a covert CIA operative to conservative columnist Robert Novak last July. Rather, Rove insisted, he had only circulated information about Plame after it had appeared in Novak's column.
Of course, this has been shown to be false now considering Rove actually confirmed Plame's CIA identity to Robert Novak and was one of Novak's two sources for his original article. This clearly shows that pro-Rove leaks are not to be trusted at all. [UPDATE: Just to be clear, I am referring here to sources that leak to journalists to try and portray Rove as having acted within the law. This is no reflection on Murray Waas, a journalist I respect and who broke significant ground with the article above when the mainstream media slept through it all. Read Waas' article in its entirety to see why.]

But there's one loose end relating to the above that had kept me thinking -- and I think I found the answer today, in part due to an ePluribus Media (ePM) member "TheOtherWashington".

Remember this claim from Rove on August 31, 2004 (bold text is my emphasis)?

I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name.
How is it possible for Rove to have NOT known Valerie Plame's name (before he started talking about her to other journalists) if he was only talking about her after Bob Novak's column appeared? After all, Bob Novak's column specifically mentioned Valerie Plame's name. So, either Rove was lying about not knowing Valerie Plame's name or he was lying about having communicated Plame's identity to reporters only after Novak's column appeared. Both cannot be true simultaneously. (We know the latter claim is false, but even the former likely is). So, I am intrigued as to what he actually said to the grand jury.

Now, some of you may point out that obviously Rove confirmed Plame's identity to Novak and spoke to Matt Cooper before Novak's column appeared. Let's set aside the fact that Rove clearly did "circulate information about Plame" to Bob Novak, before Bob Novak's column appeared. Did he really speak to Matt Cooper before Novak's column appeared?

The reason the answer seemed ambiguous is Hunter's observation at Daily Kos:

From the Washington Post, Nov 26th 2004:
While Novak's column did not run until Monday, July 14, it could have been seen by people in the White House or the media as early as Friday, July 11, when the Creators Syndicate distributed it over the Associated Press wire.
Cooper talked to Rove at 11:07am, according to Newsweek. You can bet Fitzgerald has already determined precisely when Novak's column hit the wires.
Again, if Rove had seen Novak's column before he spoke to Matt Cooper, then he obviously knew Valerie Plame's name at the time. But if he did not know her name, then he had leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Matt Cooper before Novak's column appeared. Both cannot simultaneously be true. So either way, Rove lied.

Moreover, ePM member "TheOtherWashington" wrote this comment to a query of mine in this context:

Creators Syndicate ( does send articles ahead of time, but ONLY to the papers that subscribe to them. The columns are not available ahead of time on the web, or on the publically available wires (AP, Reuters, etc...).

So unless Novak specifically sent his article to the WH by fax or email, they did not see it before 7/14/03.

P.S. Are there any readers familiar with Creators Syndicate and whether Novak's column could have been seen publicly on 7/11/03? Based on all the lying we have seen from Rove and the WH to-date I think it is clear that they didn't wait for Novak's article to come out before talking to reporters about Plame, but I'd like to get a firm confirmation if possible.
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