8/11/2005

Daily Kos: Rovegate: It's Obvious; Rove and Libby's Info on Plame From State Dep't Memo

Rovegate: It's Obvious; Rove and Libby's Info on Plame From State Dep't Memo
by Armando
Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 07:07:44 CDT

Walter Pincus' article does not say it outright, he is a "just the facts" reporter as he should be, but it is hard to imagine any other logical conclusion -- the story Rove and Libby were peddling comes from the June 2003 State Department Memo that found its way into Ari Fleischer's hands on Air Force One on July 7, 2003. The key excerpts:

Two other sources [other than Rove and Libby] appear to support the view that Wilson's wife suggested her husband's trip. One is a June 2003 memo by the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). The other, which depends in good part on the INR document, is a statement of the views of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and two other Republican members. That statement was attached to the full committee report on its 2004 inquiry into the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The GOP Senate smear of Wilson by the hack Pat Roberts came in 2004, so clearly Rove and Libby were not relying on that. That leaves the State Department memo. When you look at what Rove and Libby said, you realize that it is inescapable that the source of their info had to be the June 2003 State Department memo:

Senior Bush administration officials told a different story about the trip's origin in the days between July 8 and July 12, 2003. They said that Wilson's wife was working at the CIA dealing with weapons of mass destruction and that she suggested him for the Niger trip, according to three reporters.

. . . Time magazine's Matthew Cooper has written that he was told by Karl Rove on July 11 "don't get too far out on Wilson" because information was going to be declassified soon that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and findings. Cooper also wrote that Rove told him that Wilson's wife worked for the agency on weapons of mass destruction and that "she was responsible for sending Wilson."

So Rove said expressly the exact story of the June 2003 State Department memo and strongly indicated that his information came from classified material (that would be declassified soon.) Pretty damning.

Who Pincus spoke to we don't know, but Pincus reports:

This Washington Post reporter spoke the next day to an administration official, who talked on the condition of anonymity, and was told in substance "that the White House had not paid attention to the former ambassador's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger because it was set up as a boondoggle by his wife, an analyst with the agency working on weapons of mass destruction[.]"

Exact same story. And Novak, who was sourced by Rove and another Administration official (not a "partisan gunslinger"):

Novak had been told earlier in the week about Wilson's wife. . . . Novak wrote [he was told by a Senior Administration official] was that "Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife." Novak then called [Rove]for confirmation and got the response "Oh, you know about it."

For those who can add 2 plus 2, the conclusion is obvious -- the classified information improperly, (and probably illegally) leaked by Rove and Libby, came from the June 2003 State Dep't memo. All Rovegate roads lead there. Not a new story, we have said this for quite a while. But Pincus' story reminds of this central fact. But it does lead me to one piece of speculation - Judith Miller may have been given the memo for her review by Lewis Libby. And that is why her testimony is critical to the investigation.

That is, Miller is probably protecting her source as a reporter should, while Fitzgerald is probably justified in insisting she testify.

The moral of the story? Libby MUST specifically release Miller from her pledge of confidentiality. Free Judith Miller!

Update [2005-8-11 8:7:4 by Armando]: Swopa reached the same conclusion last night, except on Judith Miller.

Daily Kos: Rovegate: It's Obvious; Rove and Libby's Info on Plame From State Dep't Memo

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