Required Rove Reading
These two articles will be required reading today for those following the increasingly intricate case of: Who leaked the name of that CIA agent?
1) The New York Times fronts what appears to be a huge scoop, revealing that Karl Rove spoke with conservative columnist Robert Novack six days before Novack published the now infamous column that made him the first in the media to out the CIA agent. Looks as if Rove was one of the two anonymous administration sources Novack cited in his column as confirming the agent’s identity, though probably not the primary source.
2) Meanwhile, The Washington Post does some quick catch-up work and fronts its own story in which a lawyer familiar with the case confirms the NYT report and “elaborates” on it. Most interesting elaboration:
Sources who have reviewed some of the testimony before the grand jury say there is significant evidence that reporters were in some cases alerting officials about Plame’s identity and relationship to Wilson — not the other way around.
Bottom lines: Evidence grows that White House spokesman Scott McClellan should never have told the press that Rove had nothing to do with this leak. Rove obviously played a role in confirming the CIA agent’s identity to both Time and Novack. Evidence also grows that the President, if he had asked, and if Rove had been truthful, would have known about this. And finally, it’s beginning to look as if Rove might not have been the primary source for the leak, and that maybe the leak originated, in a roundabout way, with reporters who knew the agent’s identity and called to confirm it, but whether that gets Rove out of any criminal liability is still unclear. (And I actually doubt the origin is, in the end, with reporters. I think that’s the red herring du jour — the reporters had to hear it from someone.)