« What's Going To Happen In Iraq? | Main | Panic Sets In For The GOP »

April 30, 2006


Rove loves to taunt. Not surprising that his lawyer would. A bully's bravado is what I see here. But I disagree with you - I think Luskin is in trouble. I think Fitz has got testimony and emails and interviews up the ying-yang that show that both Libby and Rove coordinated the Wilson info and knew how explosive it was. And I don't think Luskin's ploy stopped Fitz from indicting Rove. I think Luskin's ploy put him in legal jeopardy, so Fitz has got to sort through that too.

I liked the bit at the end of the Newsweek article where Rover asks someone at the Fox anniversary party, "How's my 5th grand jury appearance playing out there?" Yup, regular family values stuff.

I really am wavering between whether I think that Rove is squealing (and is trying to cover-up his cooperation) or whether he is really worried. But I find it fascinating that it took me 5 minutes to find an Isikoff and Thomas story on Rove on the web. As it took me a long time to find last week's VandeHei and Kornblut stories, when I wasn't following someone's link.

Anyone think it's a coinkydink that these media outlets are all hiding their Rove coverage?

EW - Could you elaborate on why the media outlets would downplay their latest round of Rove stenography?

Are remarks like these the last throes of delusional people who have for far too long been able to say whatever they choose and by repeating it over and over, make it seemingly become truth? I've long thought Rove and his cohorts were very bright but the more this episode unfolds, the more it appears that they have succeeded more with brawn than brain. They may have met there match with both in Patrick Fitzgerald.

read more observations here:


I think it is so amusing that Rove apparently lied to Luskin. Defendants lie to their attorneys all the time, but you have to wonder if Luskin realized Karl had lied to him. Maybe he thought he was in on the con too, as so many have thought, to their detriment, with this crowd.

when abuse of power is institutional,

which is the case with the plame disclosure and ensuing cover-up,

i think you have to be very careful who you focus attention on and "charge",

legally or otherwise.

while fitzgerald may well go after luskin,

in fact,

be compelled by the facts to charge luskin,

he certainly must also be reflecting on the dangers to his central propose

of including too many ancillary crooks in his indictments.

it seems there is something in human behavior protective of institutional corruption

so that charging too many miscreants makes observers wary rather than

outraged at the abuse of power.

said briefly,

in exposing institutional corruption,

the wider the circle of people and offices involved in the corruption,

the more precise one must be in deciding who is central to misconduct and who is peripheral.


From the Time article:

Rove, according to the e-mail, didn't say much more to Cooper other than to warn him that Time shouldn't get "far out front" on the story Ambassador Wilson was telling—that the Bush administration was lying about WMD in Iraq and that, specifically, Wilson, on his trip to Niger, had found no evidence that Saddam was trying to buy uranium for atom-bomb making.

From an older newsweek article :

Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"—CIA Director George Tenet—or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger ... "

They knew at the time this was bullshit. But they thought they could still keep a lid on it. The discrediting was part of a larger conspiracy (but perhaps not "conspiracy" in a legal sense) to keep the scam going until the "good news" of some WMD find would make the ongoing disinformation campaign irrelevant.

I'm fascinated by the disjunct in perceptions about this Flame case. This goes far beyond partisan politics; there are serious delusions at work, here, but whose?

Love delayed is love denied. Where's the heat of justice from the old flame?

there are serious delusions at work, here, but whose?

Hopefully we'll find out soon

This goes far beyond partisan politics

I agree. So do Geroge Will, William F. Buckley, Brent Skowcroft, Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell ...

Pudnin' Pie.
Afore it falls,
Kiss the sky.

Well...That clears up one mystery. It seems Vivica had it right...

Nyah nyahnny nyah nyah!

WaPo 12/03/05:

Shortly before his client's second appearance before the grand jury in October,

Viveca on Oct 15, 2005 Time article Rove Testifies in Wilson Leak:

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald questioned Rove about his contacts with journalists in what a source familiar with Rove's situation said was his third appearance before the grand jury. "My client appeared voluntarily before the grand jury and has cooperated with the investigation since it began," said Rove's attorney Robert Luskin. "He has been assured in writing as recently as this week that he is not a target of the investigation."

We should sponsor a contest to see who can explain the Wilson/Plame story the easiest and in the clearest most interesting way. The winner get's a week's time of the opening post at all major (progressive) blogs. Perhaps it can be used by the DEMs before november without boring voters.

FT here is a link to my summary speculation. I think it holds up pretty well in light of the subject Newsweek article:

The Rove Hadley Email is the key to this case


Did you notice this:

Then, in October 2004, Rove, through his lawyer Luskin, suddenly turned over to the special prosecutor an e-mail, sent to Stephen Hadley, then deputy national-security adviser, that clearly showed that Rove had spoken to Cooper. Reappearing before the grand jury that month, Rove acknowledged that he must have spoken to Cooper, but he still didn't remember doing so. Rove's e-mail to Hadley suggested that Cooper had telephoned him in July 2003 about something else—welfare reform—and then switched the conversation to Wilson. Rove, according to the e-mail, didn't say much more to Cooper other than to warn him that Time shouldn't get "far out front" on the story Ambassador Wilson was telling—that the Bush administration was lying about WMD in Iraq and that, specifically, Wilson, on his trip to Niger, had found no evidence that Saddam was trying to buy uranium for atom-bomb making.

That is, that Rove testified in October 2004 that he must have talked to Cooper, but didn't mention Wilson's wife.

That is, that he testified to the bogus interpretation of the Rove/Hadley email!

Rove still was betting that Fitz would not get Cooper to testify, and that the bogus interpretation would stick. It is only when it became clear that Cooper would testify in mid-2005 that Luskin starts saying that Rove mentioned Wilson's wife!

This is a big deal because it means that Rove was lying to the GJ in his Oct 2004 meeting also...More counts of perjury and obstruction!

It all fits....

I still don't have a really good reason for the "heads up on welfare reform," but I think it may just be that Rove was not supposed to get too far out in front of the smear campaign that Hadley was coordinating vis a vis Novak, so he told Hadley a white lie to justify his conversation with Cooper...


Yes, I agree, the key is the email (which is also probably the reason Rove is beginning to sweat).

But let me restate your point. Had Cooper never testified, then the line, "I didn't take the bait" would be interpreted as meaning Cooper was probing Turdblossom to tell him about Plame, but Turdblossom didn't do so. Had Cooper never testified, then the email, by itself, would have appeared to mean that Rove didn't out Plame.

But we know he did.

I'll say what I've always said (p luk's recent speculation notwithstanding) that I thought the email was forged, recreated so as not to be obvious. I think your point supports that argument. It was written such that, had Cooper never testified, it would have exonerated Turdblossom.

I wonder if Vivnovka said anything to Luskin to raise Luskin's confidence that Cooper would never testify?

By that late date, don't you think the White House knew they were being baited?

where did you explain why luskin isn't in trouble ???

One (obvious) thought about Luskin and his potential legal jeopardy. When committing the crime, the Cabal banked on journalists ("reporter-leaker privilege") as a firewall to keep details vague and their butts out of prison. It seems logical that these same cheating criminals would then turn to their attorneys during the cover-up phase--banking on ("attorney-ObstructorOfJustice privilege") for added protection.

Also about Luskin. What the hell kind of shitty lawyer keeps such lousy records that the best he can come up with is a four-month window for when had a hugely important (according to his story) discussion about an ongoing case?

"Do I know what rhetorical means?!"
-- Homer Simpson


In this comment. Basically, I just think Fitz will show the same caution with messing with Attorney-Client privilege as he did with journalists' source privilege. Or, to put it another way, I don't doubt he'd be able to put together a charge that includes Novak and Judy, but I doubt he'll do that for fear of criminalizing journalism.

Which is why I think your point is right on, &y. They've used every level of "source" and "privilge" protection they could, barring pertinent confessions to their spouse or minister. First intelligence sources and methods (to protect people like Curveball--and the SISMI intelligence itself--in the run-up to war). Then journalistic source protection. So hell, why not attorney client privilege. Even if they go to jail, it'll mean they've dismantled the things that prevent our country from becoming a totalitarian state.

But journalists shouldn't use confidential and anonymous sourcing to warp the truth. their increasingly vain claim to privilege lies in an increasingly symbolic worship of truth.

I think that even though Fritz got some sand thrown in his face, that he is one smart ump. He knows Who's on first, and What's on second, and that we don't knows on third. The only thing that counts is that Fritz knows. He's playing Luskin and Libby's defence team masterfully, utilizing every one of their mistakes. He's not the one with the spinning spitballs. He's the one taking his time throwing slowballs, while the others fan at them desperatly.

I'd bet that he has at least 80% of his "outing" case finished. He's just playing with these jerks, getting whatever he can get off of their lies. It just makes things easier for the big trial later.

Remember, somthingsrotten, it's the coverup, not the crime itself.

In this case, I think Joe Sixpack will be more offended when he discovers that Karl Rove manufactured evidence to get off of outing a spy than necessarily outing the spy. More importantly, the degree to which this crowd tried to hide their crimes raises the question of why. And "why" is lying just beneath the surface. They conducted a massive fraud on the American people so they could try to expand an American empire than benefits only the elite.

The other piece of news in the Newsweek story, I believe (though I fully expect polly to tell me that it's old news, buried in some obscure piece she has at the tip of her fingers), is that it narrows down the timing of Luskin's presentation of the Rove-Hadley email to a two week period:

Then, in October 2004, Rove, through his lawyer Luskin, suddenly turned over to the special prosecutor an e-mail, sent to Stephen Hadley, then deputy national-security adviser, that clearly showed that Rove had spoken to Cooper.

Rove testified October 15, 2004. That means that Rove turned the email over to Fitzgerald in the first two weeks of October. Now, whenever it was, this doesn't look good for Rove - and is further evidence either that Rove is guilty or that he is the most unlucky man alive. But it looks even worse if it happened in the second week of October, because -- and here I'm just following up on a nice post by a commenter at fdl -- on October 7, Cooper and Time's efforts to quash the subpoena(s) that had to do with Cooper's non-Libby sources - including Rove, it turned out - had been denied. Of course, the new subpoena to Cooper had been issued in mid-September, so it doesn't look good that Team Rove had all this time since the conversation with VNovak, but lo and behold they only delivered the Rove-Hadley email to Fitzgerald when it looked increasingly likely Cooper would testify. But it looks really really bad if it was only after the court actually denied Cooper's motion to quash.

So, to pick up one of the questions raised by the fdl commenter, when did Team Rove find the Rove-Hadley email? It just seems to me that Team Rove are trying to thread to narrow a needle - or do to many things at once - with their explanations of the roles that VNovak's revelations to Lusking played.

The Captain and the Kidz. Fritz and the Katzenjammer Kids.

They can even smell it in Denmark.

So, Jeff, do you think that email is a forgery?

ew -

Isikoff: Rove and his lawyers hope they'll be cleared.

Jim VandeHei last wk slipped in a sentence toward the end of his report to the effect that Rove released Luskin from attorney-client privilege. That showed up out of the blue and Jim did not provide a context. Neither you nor FDLers picked up on it at the time.

It kind of make sense now. Luskin may be in trouble for
obstr of justice, as you indicate.

Did Fitz say he was protecting journalists ???

I remember Fitz said that a charge under 793 would-could create a "state's secrets" precedent, but I didn't take that to be aimed specifically at journalists

and if I understand the wiretapping defense correctly, george IS TRYING to create a "state's secrets" precedent

but I think attorney-client privilige is different than journalist privilige. JP is mostly imaginary an by custom

attorney client privlige is firmly established, and the reasons for breaking A/C/P are well defined

this case may test how far you slice it, but all the cutting occurs with a criminal conspiricy of enormous depth and power

in my view, this has to be done

Thanks for linking to that, Jeff, it is a good comment.

Look, Rove only introduced an email seemingly exonerating him after it became likely that Cooper might have to testify. Was Rove trying to introduce a plausible counter to what he knew Cooper would testify to, if forced (won't work now, Rove has spent too much time saying he didn't remember the conversation at all)? Neither Rove nor Hadley found this, even though they presumably would have been personally directed to look through their communications as well.

And then, just after he testified, Rove jokingly put himself under the wheels of AF1 to symbolize how he taken one for the team.

Fitz could also turn out to be a pussy.

This may be too simplistic, but if KR stated that Wilson's wife authorized the trip, whether he was right or not, isn't that still knowlingly identifying Plame as an operative?

Point being, we will see more and more people start questioning Fitz's "sand in the face" approach (e.g. Pat Buchanan last Friday) and wondering whether if anything substansive had been accomplished in the end.

So can you say pardon? That's where this debacle is headed unless Fitz changes course and brings something more substantial in the coming weeks against Official A.

Personally, I'd like to see people take a more critical stance on Fitz's approach and so disagree that "the only thing that counts is what Fitz knows." The public knows a great deal already from the plane ride to Africa to the latest tidbits on Luskin. Have a contest or whatever, but put it together and there should be enough evidence (witness/email) to charge Offical A with a more serious crime.


I saw that--but to some degree it's old news--Rove had to do that back when Luskin testified in--what was it, December??

Ew, you say
"I thought the email was forged, recreated so as not to be obvious."

I think it is practically impossible to recreate and backdate an email. WH email servers are backed up and archived at multiple servers and someone like Rove cannot recreate that.
If it can be done at all, you will need system administrators
(several) and knowing it is clearly illegal, I doubt anyone would come to help Rove and commit a crime.

If they had difficulty in deleting emails (they tried and got caught), imagine how difficult it would be to create a new one with backdated timestamp.


I'd put it differently. You punish offenses by public officials in three ways: in Congress, in court, and in public opinion. Frankly, I think we're better off avoiding Congress (because it could only serve to let the Republicans give a bunch of people immunity). But we could be doing better with public opinion. Its time--after the revelation of the NIE leaking--to do so, to explain to people that it wasn't JUST Plame that Bush was leaking. It was all our state's secrets. Just so they could score political points.

As far as Fitz, I'll disappoint you and say I'm not worried. As I said the other day, it strikes me that the 5th Karl appearance is more likely in the context of a conspiracy charge. If Fitz starts finalizing a case against BushCo for tampering with evidence, things will start to get interesting. And as I've also said, Rule #1 of Republican scandals is that they try to destroy evidence and in the process get in worse doo doo. We've just hit that point, in the last 2 months.


Check out my Cost-Benefit Analysis of Tampering with Evidence. I argue that it's not a question of whether they tampered (and you seem to agree). It's a question of what gives them the most benefit for the least risk. I'd change some assertions I made in the post. But I still think the central point--that while changing emails is difficult--they may have done it because it served their purposes better.


And one more point I'll make: Miguel Miranda. He is the only known hacker (and not necessarily skilled at that) who stole Dem documents off an unprotected server. And there is another case (the Senate Intelligence Committee in November 2003, just as it was about to force the WH to turn over incriminating documents) where the Republicans magically ended up with Dem documents. If the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees have someone willing to do that, do you really think the White House wouldn't?

Re: Luskin's potential legal woes.

I've been thinking that Luskin's been in legal jeopardy for some time now, and was only recently cleared by Fitz. Luskin's been awfully quiet since the Vnovak flap, and only opened his mouth again when it became clear that Rove was going to have to testify again. I wonder if he was quiet because he himself was afraid of pissing off Fitzgerald.

If Fitz did let him off the hook, does that means that there are some juicy bits in Luskin's deposition regarding Rove? Or was it just a lot of, I can't answer that due to A-C privelege?

I can't think that Fitz has gotten Luskin to turn state's witness against Karl... otherwise why would Luskin still be representing him?

In fact, here's a really crazy thought, let's parse what Luskin's said about this most recent GJ Rove appearance. He said Rove didn't get a target letter and that Rove was not a target of the investigation in connection with this appearance. What if LUSKIN got a target letter for himself, and Rove was forced to testify as a WITNESS to try and exonerate his lawyer? It would make what Luskin has said technically true.

And most deliciously, it would put Rove in a very tight spot. Either turn on his lawyer and say the VNovak thing was his (Luskin's) idea, and Luskin is indicted for obstruction, OR continue to take one for the team and tell the same old same old story to protect both of them (while at the same time not knowing what evidence Fitzgerald may have to prove you a liar and thus making a perjury charge a slam dunk).

This also may be why Luskin is reluctant to say whether or not Rove will be exonerated. Because if Rove didn't perform well enough in that GJ room (and remember, Luskin wasn't in there to help him), and had to resort to taking the fifth, that puts Luskin behind the eight-ball of an obstruction indictment (which he cannot let happen or his legal career is over). Which means that Luskin will make a deal with Fitz, drop Rove like a hot potato, and cooperate with the investigation.

And Luskin's testimony might just be enough to really put the nail in Rove's coffin. What a shocker that would be.

Of course, maybe I'm wrong and Luskin will stand by his client no matter the repercussions. Perhaps Rove has got his back. I guess we'll see.

Manny Miranda (forever living in the shadow of irony), who hacked into the Dems judiciary emails while working in Majority Leader Bill Frist's office and then, through typically nepo-partisan Republican thinking, becomes a noted right wing "judiciary issue talking head" (a la Nixon-spy Lucy Ann Goldberg's son, Jonah... what were his qualifications again?).


I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on the email. I very much doubt that it is a forgery, and I believe that Fitz had the email for quite a while--maybe even before the Rove's February 2004 GJ testimony. Cooper is deposed on August 23, 2004 and Fitz gets his broader supoena on Sept. 13, 2004 so Rove may have been getting nervous. The email may even have been one one of the reasons that the broader supoena was granted.

Of course, Rove couldn't be sure that Fitz had it, but must have come to think he did by October 2004, so he coughed it up.

What would have been Rove's motive to create a forged document if there was no other physical evidence tying him to the leak?

Please give some more consideration to the two interpretations of the Rove Hadley email arguement. With the exception of the welfare reform question mark, (which I think is something innocuous) I think it nicely explains how the email came to be without requiring some dangerous skullduggery. That the meaning was ambiguous (or, more to the point, seemed to exonerate Rove) gave Rove the opportunity to misrepresent it at his October 2004 testimony. Of course, this now has blown up in his face since Fitz did get Cooper to testify in 2005, and now Rove is in the position of having lied about the meaning of the email to the GJ in Oct. 2004.

In any case, one thing we can agree on is that the revelation today that Rove did not come clean about mentioning Wilson's wife to Cooper at his October 2004 GJ testimony is a very big problem for our fat friend!

My big question now is: What caused Luskin to start his rolling disclosure in early July 2005 that Rove talked about Wilson's wife to Cooper? I guess it must have been that the Supreme Court refused to here Judy and Cooper's appeal on June 27, 2005 and they started to realize that the jig was up. Anyway, how does that square with the October 2004 testimony that Rove didn't remember even talking to Cooper? What else, could have further jogged Turdblossom's memory?

I think this looks very very bad...


What if LUSKIN got a target letter for himself, and Rove was forced to testify as a WITNESS to try and exonerate his lawyer?

Interesting thought. But I need to think about it more. And Keep in mind Luskin is a Dem. I keep wondering whether Rove chose Luskin because he was as shameless a leaker as Rove himself. Or he chose him because he wouldn't mind ruining his career in order to save his own arse.


I think you've summed up Jonah's qualifications right there.


Yes, I think we do disagree, but that's cool. I just think neither the welfare reform nor the take the bait comment make sense given what we now know about the conversation.

As to why you produce the evidence? I'm still working on that (though obviously Luskin used it as an excuse to testify). I think it's a stupid way to provide documentary evidence that Rove didn't leak. And consider this--in some circumstances that email would have served as sufficient alternate ways of knowing that would have invalidated the Cooper subpoena; that is, you can only subpoena a journalist if there is no other way to learn what you need to learn. If it weren't for the suspicious late discovery, you could argue that it provided enough information to invalidate the Cooper subpoena.

But I also think there is still something about the reason they tried to hide Rove's involvement that we don't know. Perhaps it's that Rove really is guilty of IIPA, and they wanted to exonerate him totally. Perhaps Rove, but not Libby, cooperated with Bush on this leak (so by protecting Rove, they're protecting Bush). I don't know. I do know there are no logical explanations for the email (though p luk's comes closest). So I look for another simple explanation for it.

Have we ever heard what the Subject: line of the Hadley-Rove e-mail was? Wonder if it started with "RE:".


I think it was:

Re: How are you doing on leaking Plame's status?


No, that's a good question. I suspect if it had exonerated Rove, we would know that detail, don't you think?

First, it is next to impossible that Luskin is in legal jeopardy. He simply could not continue to represent Rove. Unless he no longer is Rove's lawyer and is just acting the part for public consumption, then there simply is no way. He would have his own lawyer and he would not be able to communicate with Rove about anything connected to the case. That does not appear to be the case, so this theory is not possible.

Second, my guess is that Fitzgerald contacted Luskin before the target letter went out, warned him that it was on its way and Luskin probably asked fitzgerald to delay the target letter with an offer to have Rove testify again. That is just a guess since I am not as schooled in these target letters. Or Luskin is lying. Or Rove was trying to provide info to Fitzgerald to avoid prosecution. But I wouldn't get hung up on the letter. It is pretty irrelevant. If Rove gets indicted, he will get a letter. We probably won't know either way until after he gets indicted.

Third, in my opinion, the Rove-Hadley e-mail demonstrates Rove's guilty state of mind at the time he leaked. The e-mail is obviously not true. He and Libby and whoever else got together beforehand and decided to use the I heard it from a journalist excuse if they got in trouble. Thus, the e-mail demonstrates that they knew that they were doing something illegal so they needed a cover. Rove figured that the e-mail would tend to exonerate him since it showed he was not the leaker. He was banking on Cooper not testifying. The e-mail was supposed to be his defense but with Cooper testifying, it now represents evidence of his guilty state of mind at the time. At least, that's how I see it, particularly since Rove is no longer sticking to the story in the e-mail.

I hope people can follow my logic in that last paragraph.

EW -

That would be ideal, wouldn't it? But I like to think that isn't far of the mark. In my fantasy I imagine the e-mail was in response to a strategy e-mail from Hadley and - here I'm really wishful thinking - the title was the reason the WH/OVP came up with those 240 additional e-mails.

The thing that I remember about Cooper's report of his conversation with Rove is that Rove said something in getting off the phone like "I have said too much already. It will all be declassified soon." If I remember this correctly it sure sounds like a coordinated plan around matters regarding Mr. & Ms. Wilson were very much on Mr. Rove's mind at the time. I know that the significance of such a statement can be sliced much more thinly than I have sliced it here but it sure seems to point to something quite significant even if no one can corroborate Cooper. But maybe what SP Fitzgerald has will in fact show that such a comment fits nicely into a fact pattern where classification concerns concerning the Niger trip and the identity of Ms. Wilson were known to be impediments to the push back that was obviously being pursued.

Its the WaPoo April 9 story:

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" -- using classified information -- to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Could be just Rove and Libby. But this WaPoo article said a lot. Everyone was all over the editorial that day, which was a good thing for Libby/Cheney. Because the front page story is dynamite.

J. Thomason

Novak was also told something would be declassified (in Novak's case, I think the CIA report on Wilson was specified). So at the least, that comment suggests that Rove told Cooper the same thing that someone told Novak.

And this was the timeframe the lead FBI investigator retired and roughly the time Card offered up his resignation. Apparently also a little after Luskin says Rove became aware he was headed back to the GJ. Last week of March, first week of April some serious shit went down.


"take the bait" means that Rove did not get into discussing "the President being hurt." Remember the cabal's #1 objective at the time was to put distance between Bush and any suggestion of his knowledge of Wilson/Niger, because of what Bush had said in the SOU...the lying weasel...

"welfare reform" is a lot more difficult, I admit. But, I don't think it matters too much. As we know Cooper does say that he did mentioned welfare reform, and the email does say that Cooper launched into Niger.

Anyway...there are only two possibilities 1) The email is a forgery 2) The email has been misunderstood. In either case, the email is used to mislead, and Rove in his October 2004 testimony adopts the misleading story.

Specifically, the Newsweek story says:

Rove acknowledged that he must have spoken to Cooper, but he still didn't remember doing so.

So, Rove let people draw the conclusion that he "didn't take the bait," that is, didn't talk about Wilson's wife.

It is not until July 2005, that Luskin starts saying that Rove did mention Wilson's wife.

What caused Luskin/Rove to "remember" that little fact in July 2005?

Of course, we know that they knew all along, but what cock and bull story can they come up with that leads them to cough up the email in Oct 2004 and say that they still don't remember the conversation, and then have their memory further refreshed by July 2005?

This is one heck of a rolling recollection problem...


I also want to address another problem with the timeline. THIS MAY BE IMPORTANT.

Supposedly, it was Viveca talking to Luskin in early 2004 that alerted Luskin/Rove to the fact that the office gossip at Time was that Cooper was identifying Rove as Cooper's source. Right?

This is what caused Luskin to seach high and low and finally several months later find the Rove Hadley email.

Rove testifies in October 2004 (as per Newsweek) that he still has no recollection of the Cooper conversation, even though Luskin has found the email, EVEN THOUGH THE REASON THEY LOOKED FOR IT IS THAT THEY WERE TIPPED OFF BY VIVECA THAT COOPER IS FINGERING ROVE....


Quite a stretch....

FWIW, classification issues may have only been an impediment to those who were under the impression than normal classification protocols applied. Obviously Libby was operating under another set of assumptions.

J. Thomason & EW -

I've kind of thought that is where they got f*cked. Perhaps they thought Hadley was moving on the declassification front but events (Wilson's op-ed) got ahead of the process and Libby/Rove jumped the gun. In fact, they (Hadley, whoever) probably got stuck within the CIA because they would have come across the hard nut of the rationale.

But WHIG had its own agenda. Its mandate was to continue the disinformation campaign about the WMD. Note the April 9 Article mentions:

One striking feature of that decision -- unremarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it -- is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

The information was not shared to indicate why the SOTU was misleading. The disinformation campaign about WMD was in effect during that Woodward meeting.

errrr... I obviously meant ...WILSON'S WIFE at the end of my post above.

But you see what I mean. How can Rove maintain that he still doesn't remember the conversation with Cooper in Oct. 2005, after they have found the email, which they looked for because they were tipped off by Viveca, and then start remembering it several months later in July 2005?

It is not plausible.

Another correction...sry!

But you see what I mean. How can Rove maintain that he still doesn't remember the conversation with Cooper in Oct. 2004....


I'm confused. Did they find the email or create it?

The 18:07 post is fascinating, but is by another kim.

Don't sweat it Freeze. I have a "than" up there that should be a "that" and have said "classification" when I meant "declassification." Its a weblog. Though I try to hold form. But in my view this rolling story of Rove's as well the multiple attempts to "convince" or "sell" the GJ just strike me as the natural tactics of a high roller of a certain ilk. A published case in New Mexico recently denied the reversal of an order to rehear where a judgment against some real estate developers had been taken in the face of this kind of rolling situational factual development used as an attempt to keep the matter in suspense. I mean its really a Music Man kind of thing. Its a way of doing business and it often works in non legal contexts because of the trouble and effort needed to confront the shifting truth with precision and judgment. In other words this is how Mr. Rove operates and I would suspect he would insist on continuing to operate in this manner against his lawyer's advice. In is mind the facts are not the key. Its the perception at any given moment. Because of his intelligence and the protection and privileges of those he has served Rove has avoided "tests" or "trials" of his methods in moving forward. If nothing else this method certainly describe the method of operation within the White House the last six years and in particular the effort to defend the misrepresentations in the SOTU. But if the substance of the deception is such that it engages someone as an issue worthy of confrontation it is an awfully difficult matter to defend when lain bare beneath a glaring light.


Very perceptive. I particularly like:

If nothing else this method certainly describe the method of operation within the White House the last six years and in particular the effort to defend the misrepresentations in the SOTU.

So, it is a method that has been proven to work over the years in the political sphere.

Rove's trouble now is that this matter is in the legal domain. Spin, obfuscation and slight of hand are much less valuable weapons when dealing with a steely eyed prosecutor focused on the facts, a timeline and logic.

I would like to draw renewed attention to jk's post above because he raises an interesting theory and no one has yet commented on it.

jk wrote: "In my opinion, the Rove-Hadley e-mail demonstrates Rove's guilty state of mind at the time he leaked. The e-mail is obviously not true. . . . The e-mail...represents evidence of his guilty state of mind at the time."

I find this attractive because I don't at all find it plausible that Rove created the e-mail after the fact or that Viv Novak was somehow in cahoots with Rove and others in the White House.

In jk's scenario, Rove knew full well that mentioning Wilson's wife was legally dangerous. Therefore, immediately after talking to Cooper, Rove writes an innocuous sounding e-mail which implies that he actually avoided the Niger-uranium-Wilson subject ("didn't take the bait"). In this theory, Rove was so aware of the illegal nature of his disclosures to reporters that he also created a contemporaneous smoke screen in case it ever got as far as an independent investigation like this one.

Rove had no reason to think that Cooper would ever actually testify against him. But Rove could realistically be expected to forsee a situation by which he might be suspected of being *the* leaker. The e-mail may have been his conscious attempt to cover his tracks at the time he was leaking. As jk writes, this would suggest a consciousness of guilt.

This theory also has the added convenience of overlapping with, and not contradicting, Jeff's speculation that Rove also wanted to lie to Hadley about his non-involvement with things involving Niger and Wilson.

This theory that the content of the e-mail is evidence of Rove's guilty state of mind would also square with Hadley being the point man for the push back or at least with respect to information control with regard to classified items, the fact that Rove may have gotten ahead of himself, and Rove's need, as a team player, to let Hadley know that Cooper was making inquiries regarding Wilson as this would be relevant to Hadley's designated function while concealing the fact that in many ways Rove could not help himself and had "spilled the beans" even when he knew better.

Jim E

Don't you think that is way too clever. To believe that "guilty mind" cover-up theory you need to imagine that this guy is going around writing wierd emails to other administration officials intentionally all the time.

That's why I rejected both the after the fact forgery, and the "guilty mind" cover-up email theory.

When you eliminate all the alternatives, that only leaves one possibility. In effect the most plausible, that it was written comtemporaneously and has been misinterpreted.

Rove adopted the misinterpretation in his Oct. 2004 testimony....

I think I'm quite alone in thinking the email was altered. Why, for example, send an email if he has such a guilty mindset? Why leave evidence at all? Why not call? Particularly why send an email that doesn't seem to plausibly communicate something? That is, why would Rove LIE to Hadley? Particularly since Libby and Rove seem to have been quite honest with each other on July 10.

Well, I guess Rove might LIE on the same logic that Libby hadn't told Hadley he was madly declassifying classified documents left and right.

But why LIE? That is, if you're not going to tell the truth (and we know he didn't, because of the welfare reform comment), then what purpose does sending the email serve at all? Particularly before vacation? Why not just tell Hadley about it after the fact?

Two more things to consider. First, Luskin leaked this before Cooper testified; Fitzgerald clearly suspects Rove was coaching Cooper. So consider how much better the content of the email serves as a message to COOPER than to HADLEY.

Also, consider the probable parallel set of incriminating emails between at least Libby and Rove--and probably Hadley, about which there has been a battle in the press. Did Rove and Libby help draft Tenet's statement? Or did they say something else in an email, and now they're trying to present it as if it related to the statement. We haven't SEEN those emails. But I'm betting money we will, at some point. And I'm betting money that those, too, won't resemble, say, Tenet's version of the conversation.

One more point about jk's theory:

He and Libby and whoever else got together beforehand and decided to use the I heard it from a journalist excuse if they got in trouble.

If Libby and Rove decided to use the heard it from a journalist excuse before they did the leaking, then why has Libby been indicted for perjury? That is, why wouldn't they SAY to journalists they had heard from other journalists? Not even Cooper, not a trusted source, and they didn't use that caveat. That strongly suggests they didn't have that story concocted before the fact.

Andrew Sullivan writes:

The gossip at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night was along the lines reported by David Shuster. ["...the presidential adviser is now more worried, not less, that he's going to get indicted."] The coming week my be the critical one for Karl Rove. Most of the other dominoes have toppled. Could this one be about to go?

Here's another thought.

Is there a possibility they've tried to insulate Hadley (and probably through him, Condi)? Libby said he didn't tell Hadley about declassifying the NIE. He may have testified to that because 1) it's true, 2) he only blamed Dick for the NIE later, and he knew Hadley hadn't testified about it earlier so he needed to not implicate Hadley as he went on, 3) Hadley and/or Condi is very deeply involved but he/she is one of the people they're trying to defend, so you say they don't know about the declassification/the Cooper conversation.

Just a thought.

I don't think you have to believe that Rove is doing lying in e-mails all the time to believe the "guilty-conscience" theory. Obviously there had been some discussion of the fact that information around the Wilson Niger trip and Plame was classified. Remember that there was awareness of classification issues in the administration around the Wilson push back at this time. The executive order was promulgated increasing the VP's powers and Libby was proceeding on the basis of ad hoc unofficial classifications. While this was the standard in the OVP the WH was still adhereing to more traditional protocols. Rove was not necessarily aware of what Libby was doing, remember Libby had some sensitivty as to whether the VP's new authority was defendable, and Hadley had apparently been tasked with freeing up the Wilson/Niger/Plame story from declassification entanglements so that it could be used with the media in the push back. Though Rove did not out Plame's NOC status to Cooper he was talking at the edges of the story which was apparently still being held. He needed to alert Hadley of Cooper's interest as has been suggested because Hadley was apparently tasked to coordinate information control on this issue in the WH. Remember Libby blithely allowed Hadley to pursue formal declassification of the NIE even after Libby felt as if the VP had given him authority for selective leaks. The irony is that Rove did not necessarily disclose any damaging information about Plame, but obviously did plant a seed. From a legal point of view then the question becomes was what
Rove said about Wilson's trip to Cooper still classified. You know Rove was talking around it and the line may not have been particularly bright. This conversation with Cooper may have been a typical deep background kind of briefing, in fact that is how Cooper characterized it isn't it? But this is where Rove has put himself in jeopardy. Its the cover-up. Whether or not he had done anything illegal with Cooper Rove has been slow to tell the "whole" truth to Fitzgerald and who knows whether that has been told yet. Rove instinctively sought to be selective in disclosing how he and Hadley were coordinated because of the potentially classified nature of the material they were dealing with. The dynamics of this are not necessarily something that would apply if the issue of declassification were not one that was so sensitive in attempting to provide political damage control around the errors set forth in the SOTU and Wilson's speaking out. There should be little doubt that Rove's job involves much juggling, information and distraction. Getting to the "whole" truth would require some focus and not getting there, to the "whole" truth is a plausible rationalization as far as it goes. With respect to Cooper, Rove and Hadley I think the question that Fitzgerald must answer is whether Rove has a reasonable excuse for not telling the "whole" truth before his new factual offerings became expedient to Rove's defense.

But that still really leaves us in the dark as to how the information concerning Plame's covert status, which by the way Novak has denied knowing he had revealed, and particularly the information concerning Brewster Jennings fell into Novak's hands. I suspect ultimately that we will hear that the VP authorized this release, arguably legal especially under a unitary executive approach, this justification certainly denudes the CIA. A Cheney authorization of Plame's status and association with Brewster Jennings ultimately would be the political bombshell that I beleive the administation has been attempting to avoid. Either there is statute which prohibits the unilateral executive declassification of the status of intelligence agents or we will be treated to a full understanding of the revolutionay implications of the unitary executive doctrine.

A rolling disclosure is not the "whole" truth. It is something that is deployed pragmatically for the sake of convenience given a context emerging in time. Whether this unfolding of information that has obviously been driven by "heat" amounts to perjury or obstruction is as of yet unresolved. Rove has been walking a fine line. It is plausible to me that he did not want to let Hadley know that he had, for whatever reason, broken ranks.


My understanding is that Libby used that exact language (i.e., "I heard that too") with Cooper and that is what Cooper testified to in the GJ. Assuming Novak is telling the truth (which he probably isn't), Rove said the same thing to him. My memory is failing me but I believe that this same "that's what i heard, too" stuff is what other journalists have said when the issue was raised.

This has always been the essential part of the conspiracy: how to out plame by creating a plausible way of covering their tracks. isn't this how rove conducted his whisper campaigns in the past? for whatever reason, rove chose cooper. This phone call is the one that gets him in trouble so he did the e-mail to cover himself. Hadley may have had no idea what he was talking about. or hadley may know exactly what this meant based on their prior agreement.

The importance of the theory is not that it is true (I feel that it could be). but that the substance of the e-mail is not crucial in any way to fitzgerald's case. he clearly -- clearly -- is going after rove. he probably has rove nailed to the wall in so many ways it is hard to count. a prosecutor like fitzgerald will use ambiguous evidence like the e-mail to fit into his theory of what occurred. i believe that the e-mail is a minor part of this case.

jeralyn at tl is so often right about these things. she has been stating since october that rove has flipped. i would guess that he has. the only question is whether fitzgerald believes that rove has been completely forthright with him. I would guess that rove hasn't been and this is why he is about to be indicted. so fitzgerald has gotten the best of both worlds: some cooperation from rove to help him nail others, but not enough to prevent him from indicting rove as well. so it could be the case that rove is both a squeeler and a soon to be a defendant.

J. Thomason,
That's one hell of a long sentence. (I'm referring to your second-to-last comment.) But I like how you add how Rove also wanted to be a "team player" and give Hadley a heads-up about Cooper even as he was misrepresenting what he said back to Cooper. That helps fill out the jk/Jeff speculation regarding the take-the-bait e-mail.

Media Freeze,
Yeah, it's a tad far-fetched that Rove would be writing CYA e-mails. But only a tad. I don't know that he'd necessarily be doing it "all of the time," as you put it. He only have to do it when he knew he was possibly breaking--or skirting--serious laws, like in this case of mentioning Wilson's wife. With that said, I do acknowledge jk/Jeff's theory could be totally wrong.

The reason Rove would send the misleading e-mail is two-fold. One, he wanted to be able to provide contemporaneous evidence that he didn't leak anything regarding Wilson or Wilson's wife to Cooper. Even at that early date, Rove could have figured the e-mail might one day be handy to have in his back pocket to show the court of public opinion, or a real court, that he merely had an inconsequential talk with Cooper. (The strength of the e-mail in this regard weakened considerably once Cooper divulged the actual gist of the talk, something that would not have been thought likely in July 2003. I have no idea why the e-mail wasn't found sooner, but Rove certainly had reason to want to conceal his talk with Cooper. Thus, his attempted e-mail alibi would've been a last-ditch effort.) But the point is, Rove would have eventually *wanted* a paper trail of the supposedly inconsequential conversation with Cooper, and that is why he e-mailed, rather than called, Hadley. Second, (borrowing from Jeff's speculation) Rove may have had motive to lie to Hadley about his actual conversation with Cooper because Hadley--not Rove--may have been the designated Niger/Wilson point person. But Rove would have wanted to give Hadley an awareness of Cooper's questions. Lastly, I think you nicely undercut that last part of jk's theory (a part of the theory I didn't excerpt from).

** And I acknowledge that I'm the one pimping--and combining--jk and Jeff's speculation with more enthusiasm than them, and also claiming *they* might be "totally wrong." A neat trick, if you ask me! I keep bringing up aspects of jk's and Jeff's comments because I find them worthy of discussion. **

Still not convinced (which is fine--IMO the idea is not to convince but to test theories). But here are a few more points that these theories have to answer but don't always.

1) Some of the theories explain Rove's behavior. But not Hadley's. If Rove lied to Hadley (and therefore Hadley would have no idea that Rove leaked to Cooper), then why didn't Hadley turn over the email?

2) The simultaneous absence of Cooper in the phone log but presence in the email record. If you want a paper trail, you want a paper trail.

Also, remember, we don't know Novak's current story (or even what Fitzgerald believes Novak's story to be. The "I heard that too" is almost certainly a post-investigation ploy; it fits up with the "not a planned leak" story that Novak told in Fall, but it is contrary to what he told Phelps and Royce in July. Therefore, some of the corroborating evidence is probably corroborating evidence that we have strong reason to believe was created in Fall 2003. Which is another reason I think the email was created/changed after the fact.

My guess, such as it is, is that Rove was checking in with Hadley to let him know that Cooper and TIME were on the case, and perhaps also preemptively to discourage the idea that he, Rove, was the source if Cooper comes around saying he hears that Wilson's wife was CIA and she authorized his trip, Rove having gotten ahead of himself. (And remember both that the discussion was on double super secret background and that the TIME reporters were, according to Dickerson's awesome two-parter that continues to produce unexpected insights, in fact sensitive about outing Rove as their source to his colleagues.) Why email instead of calling? Who knows? Why not? Maybe it was a quicker way to get going on that vacation.

One other possibility: Rove may have lied to Hadley because he didn't know how much Hadley knew about Wilson's wife, or he didn't know how much Hadley knew about how much he, Rove, knew.

On another item, just to confirm that Fitzgerald was evidently surprised when he learned from Cooper that Libby was only his confirming source, as Newsweek reported today merely reprising an old report from the Post, Fitzgerald's brief to the Supreme Court, when the case eventually got there, quotes Hogan's 11-10-04 adding new grounds in his decision denying Cooper's motion to quash the new supoenas, that the new subpoenas "stem[med] from legitimate needs due to an unanticipated shift in the grand jury's investigation." I've seen that before, and was not quite sure what that meant. But it seems pretty clear now that the unanticipated shift was the shift to looking for Cooper's actual original source, and the possibility that some wrongdoing was involved therein.

Which also, I think, speaks to a question we were discussing in the soon-to-be-legendary thread (I think; maybe it was the one before that): why did Fitzgerald include testimony about the July 12, 2003 contact with Cooper in Libby's indictment, given its apparent relative triviality. My answer: it's not what Cooper said actually happened that matters so much as the fact that Libby's alleged lies about what was said on July 12 were crucial to what Fitzgerald perceives to be a coordinated cover-up of the underlying actions.

On this note, I hate to say it, but I'll be damned if I don't think both the Newsweek folks and Shuster have been reading emptywheel and her comments thread and fdl. The absolutely hilarious thing is that if they are starting to focus, as I think they are, on the possibility that Fitzgerald suspects a coordinated cover-up by Libby, Rove et al in part on account of Fitzgerald's discovery that Libby's testimony that he brought up Plame with Cooper on July 12 was probably false, they can thank notorious MSM-lover and BDS-sufferer Tom Maguire for evidently originating that idea.

Great to see you on TheNextHurrah. I also go by kim here, thus the "jerry" subterfuge on JustOneMinute, "kimberly pipe" elsewhere.

Hope this continues.

emptywheel wrote: "1) Why didn't Hadley turn over the email?"

Hmmm. Do we definitively know that Hadley didn't turn over the e-mail in a timely (before Rove) fashion? If not, maybe the same geniuses that came up with deficient search terms for Rove's e-mails conveniently used the same deficient ones for Hadley's.

emptywheel wrote: "2) The simultaneous absence of Cooper in the phone log but presence in the email record. If you want a paper trail, you want a paper trail."

Rove wouldn't have been eager to be associated in any way with talking to the subpeonad Cooper in the first place. He wouldn't have wanted to draw attention to any Cooper connection until absolutely necessary, thus the obfuscation. His desire for a paper trial would only be for a desparate last-chance effort to stay out of imminent trouble. The key point of this e-mail alibi would the content of the talk, something that only an e-mail could cover, not a phone log entry.

At this point, I'm arguing for this theory with more gusto than I genuinely have for it. I do find it an attractive theory, but I readily admit it has some rough (perhaps fatal?) edges.

BDS=Bush Derangement Syndrome?

So, I hate to set myself up for a fall, but after this rollercoaster week of reviewing all the recent articles and posts, I've now got myself worked up to the point that I expect, within a few weeks:

-- at least an indictment of Rove on false statements, possibly with the investigation continuing to remain open
-- possibly, but not probably, more charges for Rove and/or additional indictments of others such as Card or Hadley
-- maybe maybe maybe, some kind of conspiracy indictment against some larger group of WHIG members -- which would really put Cheney in danger

I guess it's also possible that Rove would skate but that someone else would be indicted, but at this point I really can't imagine Fitzgerald ending the investigation without more indictments.

Of course he might just indict Wilson & Plame for high treason, as expected over JOM.

Someone, here or at FDL, speculated that ‘Welfare Reform’ was the BushCo code name for their anti-Wilson/Niger project. Plausible?


Well that's it in a nutshell...

With respect to Cooper, Rove and Hadley I think the question that Fitzgerald must answer is whether Rove has a reasonable excuse for not telling the "whole" truth before his new factual offerings became expedient to Rove's defense.

And I'd say..Indict!

Rove testified that "it was "possible" that he had told Cooper about Wilson's wife" in October 2004."

Well, I was partly right back in early December.

I think Rove testified in 10/04 that he had a conversation with Cooper before the Novak column. I think this is when he turned over and testified about the Hadley email, but he may not have mentioned the interesting part of the conversation, that he told Cooper about Plame.

but they were wrong

the White House turned the e-mail over to prosecutors, and Rove told a grand jury about it last year during testimony in which he also acknowledged discussing Plame's covert work for the CIA with Cooper and syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

7/16/05 AP

On Oct. 14, 2004, Mr. Rove went before the grand jury again to alter his earlier account, by saying he had also discussed the C.I.A. officer with Mr. Cooper.

NYT 12/2/05

Rove has at some point testified that he passed on information about Plame to Cooper, according to two lawyers involved in the case. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say when Rove gave this testimony. WAPO 7/23/05

Luskin was misleading at best here.

Mediafreeze has it right that the big news here is that Rove testified that "it was "possible" that he had told Cooper about Wilson's wife" in October 2004. The story out last summer had it that Rove had testified that he had talked to Cooper about Plame's employment at the CIA and her role in Wilson's trip and now we are told that Rove said it was possible he told Cooper, two very different stories.

Two other burning questions I've had were answered in this article, the date of Rove's 2nd GJ appearance and a more specific time frame on when the Rove/Hadley email was turned over.

Mr. Watson -- come here!

By George, I think he's got it!


It always struck me as odd that Rove, whose secretary first told Cooper that Rove couldn't talk to him because he was virtually on his way out the door to his vacation, took the time to e-mail Hadley about the call from Cooper immediately thereafter, falsely characterized the call as being about welfare reform and then misstated what he had said to Cooper about Wilson and his wife.

Hadley presumably had no official responsibility for welfare reform. Why did Rove take the time to write Hadley and lie about the contents of the call? Why not just hide the call altogether? Was this a "cover your ass" ploy of some kind?

If Rove created the e-mail at some later time to prove that he hadn't told Cooper about Wilson's wife having sent him to Niger, why would he direct the e-mail to Hadley when doing so would underscore the fact that Hadley was involved in the "discrediting Wilson" operation?

Why not create a post-dated "memo to file" on the subject rather than a multi-archived e-mail? [Wouldn't that be possible by turning back the main date/time setting on his computer?]

Why wasn't the Rove-Hadley e-mail turned over to investigators by Hadley, if not Rove? If Hadley suppressed it too, then Hadley would have had good reason to believe he was going to be indicted as was reported last October.

Ah, what a tangled web the Mayberry Machiavellis weave...


You're right, these threads you've provided have been amazing. Thanks for the hospitality and your thoughtful analysis that keeps us coming back.

The whole Plame thing has been fascinating for me, I've learned to really read a news article, who are the sources and what are their motives for leaking. Why did the reporter include a paragraph that seems unnecessary and what kind of sources has the reporter had in previous articles. (BTW thanks for the background on Solomon). Your series on Miller was fascinating.

I have vastly more informed understanding of how the administrative branch of government works. I now know more than I will ever need to about how classified information is handled.

I have new insight into the views of from the far left and far right (Can we indict Cheney yet seems to appear on every Plame thread over at DKos vs When is Fitz going to haul Joe and Valerie off to jail). Yet I find most respectful and engaged across the political spectrum when the details of all things Plame are under the microscope. Cecil and Maybee for example here on your threads offering a different point of view which always makes me dig a little harder. Tom welcomes dissent over at JOM and I've seen many from the left over there including p.lukasiak, Jim E. and Anonymous Liberal. Jeff is in a league of his own when it comes to JOM.

I've been lucky read the thinking of some of the brightest people on the blogs here and feel like I've made a few friends along the way. (Hey Mediafreeze)

Someone questioned your analysis on Plame on another thread, I want to say they're nuts. Your hard work doing the research and detailed analysis is unparalled and always appreciated. I've only mentioned a very few of the people who provide commentary here, you have too many regulars to mention them all but will say the variety, humor (see obsessed) and insight found here is extraordinary.


Thanks for that. If I ever go back into teaching Communications Studies, maybe I'll do a freshman course on reading the news--using the Plame Affair as the textbook. Probably more useful than teaching them to read using Herodotus.


Yes, thanks. That's what I've been trying to formulate for a few days now. Cooper is important to Libby because of how it affects the Rove case.

Jim E.

Good responses to questions 1 and 2. One more question (not that hard to answer, but important nevertheless). Rove had already spoken to Rove about this by the time he spoke to Cooper. Did he treat his Rove conversation (that is, checking in with Hadley) the same? As you point out, though, it all comse down to whether the content of the email is plausible.


I think the Luskin discrepancy is all about forestalling the inevitable. You can't publicly say he DID have a conversation in October 2004 because of the election. But in July 2005, you want to manage expectations somewhat. Remember, one of the reasons Luskin got this gig is because of his willingness to leak like a Rover.


Good quetsions. I originally thought the email was a replacement email, substituting one that said, "Seeded the leak with Matt Cooper today, he may call you on it." to one that said, "Didn't take the bait." That's a much more difficult technical proposition, though.

But remember that Hadley thought he was going to be indicted. And that he was definitely involved in the Tenet negotiations. So he has a known role in the process. It may be that they're trying to CY his arse on this. Or it may be that he really did coordinate the leak.

Oops, Jim E

I mean Novak about half the times I said Rove in that comment.

Well, kim, if you use our name over here, I'll use your overthere name overhere.

Anybody checked with William of Occam about these complicated theories? Anybody think the "I didn't take the bait' means he knew he was being baited?


With regards to the Rove-Novak phone call, Rove was only a confirming source, not the original source. Therefore, he didn't feel the need to CYA in the same way as with the Cooper call. That Novak spilled the beans was not anticipated, but for Rove it might not have been as worrisome as being the initial source, as he was with Cooper.

If there was any conspiracy, it was that Rove and Libby agreed to make Libby the firewall, which is why Libby went out of his way to falsely testify that he (Libby) and not Cooper initiated the WIlson's wife talk. That was done to keep Rove--and others?--out of it.

Jim E

See, I said it was easy to answer. Though I disagree that that's the sum of the conspiracy. You also need to explain why Novak's story changed 180 degrees, at precisely the same time as WH spin was changing in exactly the same manner.

I'll remind of something I keep harping on. When Fitzgerald got his clarification from Comey, it specified his power included:

includes the authority to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, your investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted; and to pursue administrative remedies and civil sanctions (such as civil contempt) that are within the Attorney General's authority

We have seen him use his power to prosecute perjury and obstruction of justice, to conduct appeals, and use civil contempt as a remedy. So we know this letter closely matched the tools Fitzgerald THOUGHT he'd need in February 2004.

But we haven't seen why he asked Comey to specify "destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses" yet. I suspect he didn't ask for those powers just for fun.

This might be a stupid question and may have been covered in Plameology 101, but for us newbies does anyone know the date and time of the following, the Rove-Cooper conversation, and the Rove Hadley email? Was this email written in real time just after the Rove-Cooper conversation took place? Did the Rove-Hadley email occur on the same day that Hadley, Tenet, Joseph said those 16 words should never have been in the SOTU and if so what was the timing? So in that light I would be curious as to the timeline and even some of the context of the events,.....the Rove-Cooper conversation, the Rove-Hadley email and the exact time of the retraction by Hadley/Tenet/Joseph of the 16 words?

Are all those fancy phrases of Comey's boilerplate, and if not, and if they are Fitz's requests and they do fit a prejudicial investigation, don't they then constitute conspiracy not delegation or supervision.

my too sense

Here's the July 11 timeline, from the DKosopedia Plame Timeline:

  • 5:15 a.m. EST - Condoleezza Rice in a press gaggle with Ari Fleischer aboard Air Force One skirts the responsibility regarding the 16 words claiming that the speech conformed to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and the DCIA cleared the speech. She says she learned of the document forgery in March, and of Wilson's trip "on whatever TV show it was" "about a month ago".

  • Ari Fleischer and Dan Bartlett prompt reporters to look into the bureaucratic origins of the Wilson trip. (Newsweek, NYT)

  • early to mid morning, EST - Time reporter John Dickerson discusses the Wilson trip with two administration officials while in Africa. Both officials prompt him to look into the orgins of the trip (OSC letter, p. 4, Slate, Firedoglake). Ari Fleischer is one of the officials. He is careful to not specify Plame or her position. (Slate).

  • 11:00 a.m. - Clifford May puts up a piece on NRO which attacks Wilson in a number of ways but does not include any reference to Valerie Wilson/Plame. The piece also states: "Wilson was sent to Niger by the CIA to verify a U.S. intelligence report about the sale of yellowcake — because Vice President Dick Cheney requested it, because Cheney had doubts about the validity of the intelligence report."

  • Before 11:07 a.m. - White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has a short conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper. Rove tells Cooper that Wilson's wife works for the CIA and had a hand in sending him to Niger. Rove does not mention her by name.

  • 11:07 a.m - Cooper e-mails his bureau chief after speaking to Rove. (Newsweek)

    [...] Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"--CIA Director George Tenet--or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, Wilson's [sic] wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD (weapons of mass destruction) issues who authorized the trip."

  • After 11:07 a.m. - Karl Rove e-mails deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley after speaking to Cooper. (AP)

    Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he’s got a welfare reform story coming. When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn’t this damaging? Hasn’t the president been hurt? I didn’t take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn’t get Time far out in front on this.

  • After 1:00 p.m. - John Dickerson and Matthew Cooper trade the information they have learned. They agree that Cooper will follow up on "the wife business". (Slate)

  • 3:09 p.m. - George Tenet issues a statement taking the heat for the 16 words, and saying the decision to send Wilson was the CIA's alone. (Cooperative Research)

Rove also supposedly sent an email to Adam Levine about another subject just before or after he sent the Hadley email; it was one of the hail mary passes Luskin threw last Fall.

The Hadley mea culpa was later, on July 22.

Your two cents, they are arguing over whether Rove faked the email immediately or later. It is not within their ken to consider the email a straightforward document revealing that the White House was aware of a plot against them. I don't blame them; Fitz hasn't figured it out yet, either.

What was Woodward doing on July 11?

my lord!

an all-nighter.

aren't you folks getting a little old for that?

for fun:

i keep wondering,

when will fitzgerald's boss get pulled into this black hole?


It's a distributed computing all-nighter, a lot easier to manage.

You mean Fitz' boss, Abu Gonzales? Well, I'm trying, with all my conspiracy theories about a cover-up, to send him to prison. But these smart people are trying to talk me out of it.


Too clever by half actually means that you are so 'clever' that you outsmart yourself. Saying that a ploy would be 'too clever by half' means that Fitzgerald wouldn't be stupid enough to trap himself by such sly tricks.

At least that is my understanding of the phrase.



Thanks EW, Great timeline..I will use the link when I have questions like this from now on.

I realize what they are discussing in this thread..whether the Rove-Hadley email is authentic..but I am for the sake of my inquiry (which EW did a great job of detailing the timeline of that July 11th date and for which I'm appreciative) assuming the email was real and wanted to know the timing,context of the emails in relationship to the retractions of 16 words from various individuals. I'm sure the prosecutor knows the timeline too...not just of when the emails might have been created,sent, and or recieved/ read.


I think you're right about the meaning of the idiom. But I think, in context, they're saying, "trying to trick Libby's lawyers would mean Fitzgerald might out-trick himself, because he's not sly or devious enough to handle such an operation."

Or at least that's who I understood it. I realize the way I discussed it at the end of my post doesn't make it sound like that, but this certainly seems like a suggestion that Fitz couldn't handle this trick on Libby's lawyers.

I've half a mind to disagree with you. Is Fitz clever or straightforward?

Could ‘Welfare Reform’ have been the BushCo code name for their anti-Wilson/pro-Saddam-WMD project?

1. Cooper WAS working on welfare reform in 2003, but he doesn’t recall asking Rove about it:
“I recall calling Rove from my office at TIME magazine through the White House switchboard and being transferred to his office. I believe a woman answered the phone and said words to the effect that Rove wasn’t there or was busy before going on vacation. But then, I recall, she said something like, “Hang on,” and I was transferred to him. I recall saying something like, “I’m writing about Wilson,” before he interjected. “Don’t get too far out on Wilson,” he told me. I started taking notes on my computer, and while an e-mail I sent moments after the call has been leaked, my notes have not been.
“The prosecutor asked if I had ever called Mr. Rove about the topic of welfare reform. Just the day before my grand jury testimony Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, had told journalists that when I telephoned Rove that July, it was about welfare reform and that I suddenly switched topics to the Wilson matter. After my grand jury appearance, I did go back and review my e-mails from that week, and it seems as if I was, at the beginning of the week, hoping to publish an article in TIME on lessons of the 1996 welfare-reform law, but the article got put aside, as often happens when news overtakes story plans. My welfare-reform story ran as a short item two months later, and I was asked about it extensively. To me this suggested that Rove may have testified that we had talked about welfare reform, and indeed earlier in the week, I may have left a message with his office asking if I could talk to him about welfare reform. But I can’t find any record of talking about it with him on July 11, and I don’t recall doing so.”
What I Told the Grand Jury by Matthew Cooper http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,1083899,00.html via eriposte, July 18, 2005

2. It’s not likely that Rove would have been independently pushing welfare reform to Cooper in July 2003, because it wasn’t an Administration priority at the time. There’s nothing about welfare reform on the White House website after February 2003. http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/welfarereform.


Sorry I didn't answer before.

I don't think it was code. But I do think Rove's use of it fits nicely either with the contemporaneous "guilty conscience" theory above or my "after the fact exculpatory email" explanation. That is, Rove needed to provide a reason he took the call, just before vacation, when his assistant originally told Cooper to feck off. So he says Cooper wanted to talk about Welfare reform. If he admits that Cooper called to talk about Joe Wilson, then it shows Rove was willing to take his call, one of the first calls he had ever accepted from Matt Cooper (Cooper had only been in the position a few weeks). It provides credence to the 1X2X6 theory, that it was an intentional and systematic leak.

With either of these explanations, though, it suggests a part of work on the part of Rove. I can imagine him going, "Susan, help me think of a legitimate reason to talk to Cooper, so I can finish this email to Hadley before I go. Why would I accept a call from Cooper." And Ralston looks through Rove's "Don't answer, they're not trusted journalist" messages and finds Cooper's message from earlier in the week.

Or, it could just be Jeff's "he's a very unlucky man" and maybe Cooper did mention it (or Rove thought he'd want to talk about the same thing--though I find it really doubtful). Other than that, though, there is no logical reason for Rove to claim--or remember--that welfare reform might be exonerating context.

I do think Rove had reason to emphasize to Hadley that the announced subject of Cooper's call was welfare reform, since, on my hypothesis, Rove was strategizing with Libby and Hadley on the 16 words in the background but not actually dealing with reporters on it. But it's perfectly possible that welfare reform was the first thing Rove and Cooper dealt with. Maybe Ralson made an inference and said, "It's Cooper calling again, he wants to talk about welfare reform, per his message earlier this week." Or maybe Rove got on the phone and said, "I hear you're writing about welfare reform," and Cooper said, "Yeah, well, yeah, but how about Wilson etcetc." Or maybe Cooper said, "Earlier I called about welfare reform, and I'm still working on that story, but I really want to talk about Wilson etcetc."

Two pieces of evidence or argument bolstering my thought that Rove was lying to Hadley are that Rove didn't even mention Wilson in his email, instead pegging Cooper's questions as about Niger - obviously related, but a much larger topic than what Cooper says he asked about, which was specifically Wilson. Likewise, Rove fudges his answer, telling Hadley that he told Cooper not to get too far out on "this", whereas Cooper says Rove said not to get too far out on Wilson specifically. Second, obviously, Rove said he didn't take the bait, and if we don't play on words as JOMers are wont to do to argue that Rove recognized that Cooper was baiting Rove in the way a card-carrying member of the MSM-Democrat-State Dept-France conspiracy just naturally baits conservatives, my hypothesis says Rove did take the bait, answering Cooper's questions about Wilson all too fulsomely, and Rove was simply lying to Hadley about this, because he knew he wasn't supposed to.

Here's a related question, a way of testing out this hypothesis (though not definitively, of course): when Rove and Libby had their conversation in which Rove related that Novak had told him that he was going to be publishing on the Wilsons, did Rove acknowledge to Libby that he had provided any confirmation to Novak about Plame, or even that he had offered any indication that he, Rove, knew anything about Plame to Novak?


I guess the answer to your question has to do with what we think the Novak leak consisted of. There are three scenarios I've heard:

  • Mr. X (Armitage) told Novak the bulk of the leak, including Plame's name and covert status. Rove just confirmed generally.

  • Mr. X (Armitage) told Novak that it was said that Plame was responsible for the trip and that she worked at CIA as an analyst. Rove added the name Plame and her covert status.

  • Libby leaks to Novak before July 7 about Wilson and Plame, including Plame's covert status and name. On the 7th, he suggests Novak call Fleischer and Armitage for more "sources." Armitage confirms Plame worked at CIA, as does Rove.

I think the first is totally implausible (or Armitage would be in trouble). I think the other two are both plausible (though of course, I like my Libby as leaker the best).

In the second case, I think Rove and Libby would have been totally honest. "Yeah, Scooter, I made sure Bob got all the details we'd like to see in the column."

But in the third case, I think it possible that the conversation was less forthcoming. "Novak called me about Plame--I confirmed I had heard something. Do you know who told him about her covert status?"

Writing it out like this, the second sounds most plausible, which would suggest Rove and Hadley may have had honest conversations too.

Just a comment to correct the record on the October 2004 Cooper decision.

Judy Miller was held in contempt on 10/7/04.

Cooper was held in contempt on 10/13/04.


Novak had it this way in his 10/1/03 column, which would indicate that his non partisan gunslinger gave him all parts of the leak as Novak has Plame as an employee in the counterproliferation section at the CIA

He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. Novak column 10/1/03

emptywheel - So if I buy into your second case, I'm supposed to give up my current hypothesis about Rove and Hadley's conversation, right?

Listening to and reading Novak, it does often sound to me like he had more sources thatn just Armitage and Rove. My own preferred guess would be off-the-books folks at CIA - we know that after publishing, Novak got some people in the CIA to tell him that Plame was not undercover, for instance. But in any case, the trouble with Novak having more relevant sources is that it would appear that Fitzgerald doesn't know about them, since in his 2-16-06 affidavit he talks about Novak's two sources - unless Fitzgerald is very carefully segmenting the leaks Novak got, after your and Swopa's fashion, and is specifically talking about the two senior administration officials who told Novak that Wilson's wife was involved in her trip, leaving aside Novak's source(s) for her name specifically (which, polly, Novak's later column doesn't include among the info provided by the source later known as Armitage). Would that be too clever by half? Or just right?

I could also imagine Libby and Rove being more open with each other than Rove would be with Hadley. Libby is the point person in the Rove-Libby-Hadley trio not only because he is the one in OVP, the crucible, but also because he alone has the distinctive skills and credibility of both Hadley and Rove: with Hadley, Libby shares depth and credibility on national security, but with Rove - and unlike my impression of Hadley anyway, who has struck me as a political maneuverer of no great skill (which is why for a while I pegged him as Pincus' source, which i now think is wrong) - Libby shares skills at political hitjobs and the like. If that's right, I could imagine Rove and Libby being open about how the political hitjob was going, while Rove and Hadley wouldn't be.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad