Thursday, July 28, 2005

ZPD: That “rat bastard” GOP Traitor Karl Rove

ZPD: Even Doonesbury has that “rat bastard” GOP Traitor Karl Rove in its sights:

ZPD's good friend and onetime neighbor Mister Fun is likely responsible for the animated "Uncle Duke" you'll see on Slate's Doonesbury page. The animated guy showed up on Evans and Novak even - so we have a tie in with the traitors who should be rotting in Federal Prison.

Sunday — a lovely summation of the why behind TreasonGate,
Monday - Rove on Roast.
Tuesday - Rove's new nickname ...

even offers up a daily briefing for the content starved.

To review — understanding TREASONGATE may explain the rush to an unnecessary war in Iraq and it's death toll:

The Plame Affair

The Plame Affair began in July 2002 when journalist Robert Novak wrote a column revealing that Valerie Plame, the wife of former United States Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, was a covert operative of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency who specialized in undercover operations involving weapons of mass destruction. According to Ambassador Wilson, the exposure of Plame was done as an act of political retribution against Wilson due to Wilson's New York Times Op Edit in which Wilson challenged a statement in Bush's 2003 State of the Union address in which the president said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The materials to which Bush was referring have since become known as the Yellowcake forgery.

The Plame Affair also involves the subsequent investigation of the Bush White House leak by Independent Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who was appointed by Deputy Attorney General James Comey (then Attorney General John Ashcroft having recused himself from the case) and the possible cover-up by White House staff and officials including Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Ari Fleischer, and others.


On 29 August 2003, retired ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a career diplomat who had worked under Democratic and Republican administrations, alleged that Karl Rove leaked the identity of his wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. Although many speculated that the leak was a potential violation of federal law, no charges have been filed against Rove.

Wilson, who in February 2002 investigated claims of attempted 1990s uranium ore purchases by Iraq from Niger, wrote an opinion piece in The New York Times, published 6 July 2003,[1] suggesting that the Bush administration misrepresented intelligence findings to justify war against Iraq. Wilson said that his African diplomatic experience led to his selection for the mission: He is the former ambassador to Gabon, another uranium-producing African nation, and was once posted in the 1970s to Niamey, Niger's capital.[2] Wilson, who was open about the CIA's sponsorship of his trip (which he called "discreet but not secret"), wrote that he had been "informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report" relating to the sale of uranium yellowcake from Niger (see also Yellowcake Forgery). Of his trip to Niger Wilson wrote, "I spent the next eight days drinking sweet mint tea and meeting with dozens of people: current government officials, former government officials, people associated with the country's uranium business. It did not take long to conclude that it was highly doubtful that any such transaction [purchase of uranium ore] had ever taken place." Wilson also noted that U.S. Ambassador to Niger Barbro Owens-Kirkpatrick "knew about the allegations of uranium sales to Iraq — and that she felt she had already debunked them in her reports to Washington."

However, Wilson's assertions have been questioned by some. For instance, a Senate intelligence committee report issued on July 9, 2005 is taken by some to refute Wilson's claims about the extent of his wife's involvement in arranging the trip. As reported by the Washington Post:

The report states that a CIA official told the Senate committee that Plame "offered up" Wilson's name for the Niger trip, then on Feb. 12, 2002, sent a memo to a deputy chief in the CIA's Directorate of Operations saying her husband "has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity." The next day, the operations official cabled an overseas officer seeking concurrence with the idea of sending Wilson, the report said. [3]

Others argue that Wilson has said only that his wife did not authorize the trip and he cannot speak about the details. The Senate intelligence committee report and other sources seem to confirm that Valerie Plame gave her husband a positive recommendation. However, they also confirm that she did not personally authorize the trip as Matt Cooper reports having been told by Karl Rove.

Some also suggest that, rather than debunking the Iraq-uranium-Niger theory, Wilson's report actually supported it. As reported by the Washington Post:

Wilson's reports to the CIA added to the evidence that Iraq may have tried to buy uranium in Niger, although officials at the State Department remained highly skeptical, the report said.
Wilson said that a former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, was unaware of any sales contract with Iraq, but said that in June 1999 a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq -- which Mayaki interpreted to mean they wanted to discuss yellowcake sales. A report CIA officials drafted after debriefing Wilson said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to UN sanctions on Iraq."
According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.

Critics counter that this seems unlikely given that there, in fact, was no truth to the uranium sale claims and the CIA agreed with Wilson's conclusion that the story was false. In addition, the Washington Post ran a correction to the quoted report:

In some editions of the Post, a July 10 story on a new Senate report on intelligence failures said that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV told his contacts at the CIA that Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from the African nation of Niger in 1998. In fact, it was Iran that was interested in making that purchase, but no contract was signed, according to the report.[4]

Finally, some argue that Wilson was dishonest or misleading in his reports on his findings. Again, as reported by the Washington Post:

The report also said Wilson provided misleading information to The Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on documents that had clearly been forged because "the dates were wrong and the names were wrong."
"Committee staff asked how the former ambassador could have come to the conclusion that the 'dates were wrong and the names were wrong' when he had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel said. Wilson told the panel he may have been confused and may have "misspoken" to reporters. The documents -- purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq -- were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger.

Eight days after publication of Wilson's article, syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that the choice to use Wilson "was made routinely at a low level without [CIA] Director George Tenet's knowledge." Novak went on to identify Plame as Wilson's wife: "Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate the Italian report. The CIA says its counter-proliferation officials selected Wilson and asked his wife to contact him."[5] Although Wilson wrote that he was certain his findings were circulated within the CIA and conveyed (at least orally) to the office of the Vice President, Novak questioned the accuracy of Wilson's report and added that "it is doubtful Tenet ever saw it."

Defenders of White House officials believe that Wilson, in a partisan way, initiated a smear campaign against the Bush administration. They promote the related view that those White House officials who talked on background about Wilson were, rather than trying to punish him by exposing his wife, trying to prevent reporters from believing Wilson's disinformation. Opponents counter this argument by asserting that such officials would still have a duty to diligently avoid exposing undercover officers or other confidential information.

Time line of Plame affair

See main article at: Plame scandal timeline

Central figures and issues (alphabetical order)

Central issues (alphabetical order)

CIA calls for Special Prosecutor

Background on special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald

In September 2003, the CIA requested that the Justice Department investigate the matter.[6] Karl Rove was identified by the New York Times in connection to the Plame leak on 2 October 2003, in an article that both highlighted Attorney General John Ashcroft's employment of Rove in three previous political campaigns and which pointed to Ashcroft's potential conflict of interest in investigating Rove. In recusing himself from the case, Ashcroft named Deputy Attorney General James Comey, to be "acting attorney general" for the case; Comey in turn named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald on 30 December 2003 (Comey names Fitzgerald). Fitzgerald began investigations into the leak working from White House telephone records turned over to the FBI in October 2003. [7]

Though Plame's exposure was claimed to be retaliation for Wilson's editorial on issues surrounding the yellowcake forgery, the White House and the GOP have sought discredit Wilson with a public relations campaign that claims Wilson has a partisan political agenda. However, Wilson along with current and former CIA officials have asserted the leak not only damaged Plame's career, but arguably endangered U.S. National Security and endangerd the missions of other CIA agents working abroad under nonofficial cover (as "NOCs"), passing as private citizens without diplomatic passports. Plame, who worked undercover for the CIA for nearly 20 years,[8] was identified as an NOC by New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller (among others) on 5 October 2003.[9] Articles in the The Washington Post,[10] The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications have pointed to Plame's association with Brewster Jennings & Associates, nominally an oil exploration firm, but in fact a CIA front company (now defunct) spying on Saudi and other interests across the Middle East. Under certain circumstances, disclosure of the identity of a covert agent is illegal under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, though the language of the statute raises the issue of whether Karl Rove is within the class of persons to whom the statute applies.[11] However, Title 18, United States Code, Section 641[12] prohibits theft (or conversion for one's own use) of government records and information for non-governmental purposes and was found to apply in the convicion of Jonathan Randel[13].

While it it not known exactlly who testified before the Grand Jury a number of individuals have acknowledged giving testimony including White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan, former press secretary Ari Fleischer, former special advisor to the president Karen Hughes, former White House communications aide Adam Levine, former advisor to the Vice President Mary Matalin, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.[14] On 13 May 2005, citing "close followers of the case," The Washington Post reported that the length of the investigation, and the particular importance paid to the testimony of reporters, suggested that the counsel's role had expanded to include investigation of perjury charges against witnesses.[15] Other observers have suggested that the testimony of journalists was needed to show a pattern of intent by the leaker or leakers.[16]

Legal filings by Independent Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald contain many pages blanked out for security reasons, leading some observers to speculate that Fitzgerald has pursued the extent to which national security was compromised by the actions of Rove and others. On 18 July 2005, The Economist reported that Valerie Plame had been dissuaded by the CIA from publishing her own account of her exposure, suggesting that such an article would itself be a breach of national security. The Economist also reported that "affirmative measures" by the CIA were being taken to protect Plame's identity at the time Karl Rove revealed her CIA affiliation to journalists. [17]

List of known Grand Jury witnesses (in alphabetical order)

Contempt of Court: Miller, Cooper

New York Times investigative reporter Judith Miller, who (according to a subpoena) met with an unnamed White House official on July 8, 2003, two days after Wilson's editorial was published, never wrote or reported a story on the Plame affair,[18] but nevertheless refused (with Cooper) to answer questions before a grand jury in 2004 pertaining to sources. Both reporters were held in contempt of court. On 27 June 2005, after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the reporters' request for appeal, [19] Time magazine said it would surrender to Fitzgerald e-mail records and notes taken by Cooper. Miller and Cooper faced potential jail terms for failure to cooperate with the independent counsel's investigations.[20] Columnist Robert Novak, who later admitted that the CIA attempted to dissuade him from revealing Plame's name in print, "appears to have made some kind of arrangement with the special prosecutor" (according to Newsweek).[21]

Miller was jailed on 7 July 2005, and is expected to remain there until the term of the Grand Jury expires in October 2005 unless she agrees to testify. She is being held in Alexandria, VA in the same facility as Zacarias Moussaoui.

Karl Rove

On 1 July 2005 Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, on the McLaughlin Group stated: "And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this but the source of...for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine's going to do with the grand jury." The document dump has since occurred.[22]

On 2 July 2005, Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said that his client spoke to Time reporter Matt Cooper "three or four days" before Plame's identity was first revealed in print by commentator Robert Novak. (Cooper's article in Time, citing unnamed and anonymous "government officials," confirmed Plame to be a "CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." Cooper's article appeared three days after Novak's column was published.) Rove's lawyer, however, asserted that Rove "never knowingly disclosed classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." This second statement has since been called into question by an e-mail, written three days before Novak's column, in which Cooper indicated that Rove had told him Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. If Rove were aware that this was classified information at the time then both disclaimers by his lawyer would be untrue. Furthermore, Luskin said that Rove himself had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" (three times, according to the Los Angeles Times of 3 July 2005 [23]) and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him and that Rove "has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else." Rove's lawyer declined to share with Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff the nature or contents of his client's conversations with Cooper. [24] [25] [26][27] [28]

On 6 July 2005, Cooper agreed to testify, thus avoiding being held in contempt of court and sent to jail. Cooper said "I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions for not testifying," but told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance at court he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" an indication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep his source's identity secret. For some observers this called into question the allegations against Rove, who had signed a waiver months before permitting reporters to testify about their conversations with him (see above paragraph). [29]

Cooper, however, stated in court that he did not previously accept a general waiver to journalists signed by his source (whom he did not identify by name), because he had made a personal pledge of confidentiality to his source. The 'dramatic change' which allowed Cooper to testify was later revealed to be a phone conversation between lawyers for Cooper and his source confirming that the waiver signed two years earlier included conversations with Cooper. Citing a "person who has been officially briefed on the case," The New York Times identified Rove as the individual in question,[30] a fact later confirmed by Rove's own lawyer.[31] According to one of Cooper's lawyers, Cooper has previously testified before the grand jury regarding conversations with Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr., chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, after having received Libby's specific permission to testify.[32]

Rove's email to Hadley

In an email sent by Karl Rove to top White House security official Stephen Hadley immediately after his discussion with Matt Cooper (obtained by the Associated Press and published on 15 July 2005), Rove claimed that he tried to steer journalist Cooper away from allegations Wilson was making about faulty Iraq intelligence. "Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," Rove wrote to Hadley. "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." Rove made no mention to Hadley in the e-mail of having leaked Plame's CIA identity.[33] Although Rove wrote to Hadley (and perhaps testified) that the initial subject of his conversation with Cooper was welfare reform and that the conversation then turned to Wilson and the Niger mission, Cooper has disputed this suggestion in his grand jury testimony and subsequent statements: "I can't find any record of talking about [welfare reform] with him on July 11 [2003], and I don't recall doing so," Cooper said. [34][35]

Karl Rove revealed as Time leaker

On 10 July 2005, Newsweek posted a story from its forthcoming July 18 print edition which quoted one of the e-mails written by Time reporter Matt Cooper in the days following the publication of Wilson's Op-Ed piece.[36] Writing to Time bureau chief Michael Duffy on 11 July 2003, three days before Novak's column was published, Cooper recounted a two-minute conversation with Karl Rove "on double super secret background" in which Rove said that Wilson's wife was a CIA employee: "it was, KR [Karl Rove] said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." In a Time article released 17 July 2005, Cooper says Rove ended his conversation by saying "I've already said too much." If true, this could indicate that Rove identified Wilson's wife as a CIA employee prior to Novak's column being published. Some believe that statements by Rove claiming he did not reveal her name would still be strictly accurate if he mentioned her only as 'Wilson's wife', although this distinction would likely have no bearing on the alleged illegality of the disclosure. The White House repeatedly denied that Rove had any involvement in the leaks. Whether Rove's statement to Cooper that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in fact violated any laws has not been resolved.

In addition, Rove told Cooper that CIA Director George Tenet did not authorize Wilson's trip to Niger, and that "not only the genesis of the trip [to Niger] is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report" which Wilson made upon his return from Africa. Rove "implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate Iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger," and in an apparent effort to discourage Cooper from taking the former ambassador's assertions seriously, gave Cooper a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Cooper recommended that his bureau chief assign a reporter to contact the CIA for further confirmation, and indicated that the tip should not be sourced to Rove or even to the White House. Rove's reported claim that Wilson's mission to Niger was "authorized" by his wife was not strictly true, as Valerie Plame did not have the authority to authorize such a trip. However, CIA sources still differ on the extent of Valerie Plame's involvement in her husband's selection.[37]

Cooper testified before a grand jury on 13 July 2005, revealing that Rove was the source who told him Wilson's wife was an employee of the CIA.[38] In the 17 July 2005 Time magazine article detailing his grand jury testimony, Cooper wrote that Rove never used Plame's name, nor indicated that she had covert status: "Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the C.I.A. and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'W.M.D.'? Yes. Is any of this a crime? Beats me."[39] Cooper also explained to the grand jury that the "double super secret background" under which Rove spoke to him was not an official White House or Time magazine source or security designation, but an allusion to the 1978 film Animal House, in which a college fraternity is placed under "double secret probation."[40]

Other journalists with early knowledge

Days after Novak's initial column appeared, several other journalists, notably Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, published Plame's name citing unnamed government officials as sources. In his article, titled "A War on Wilson?", Cooper raised the possibility that the White House had "declared war" on Wilson for speaking out against the Bush Administration.[41]

Both NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews have been mentioned in the press as having early knowledge of the Plame leak, although their conversations with (unnamed) White House officials may have taken place after Novak's article was published.[42] Two Newsday reporters who also confirmed and expanded upon Novak's account, Timothy M. Phelps and Knut Royce, were also mentioned in October 2003 in connection to an ongoing judicial inquiry.[43]

Walter Pincus, a Washington Post columnist, has written that he was told in confidence by an (unnamed) Bush administration official on 12 July 2003, two days before Novak's column appeared, that "the White House had not paid attention to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s CIA-sponsored February 2002 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."[44] Because he did not believe it to be true, Pincus did not report the story.

White House reactions

In the beginning the White House called the allegation that Rove disclosed classified information "totally ridiculous" and "simply not true," and stated that "if anyone in this administration was involved in [the leak], they would no longer be in this administration."[45] Once the source was disclosed, the White House refused to comment and stated that they would fire anyone convicted of criminal activity. Critics find an intent to protect Mr. Rove in the new specificity, while supporters indicate say that was what was meant all along.

President George Bush, who has repeatedly denied knowing the identity of the leaker, called the leak a "criminal action" for the first time on 6 October 2003, stating "[i]f anybody has got any information inside our government or outside our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice Department so we can find the leaker."[46][47] Speaking to a crowd of journalists the following day, Bush said "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is -- partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."[48] On 8 October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that "no one has more of an interest in getting to the bottom of this than the White House does, than the President does."[49] On 10 October 2003, after the Justice Department began its formal investigation into the leak, McClellan specifically said that neither Rove nor two other officials whom he had personally questioned – Elliot Abrams, a national security aide, and I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff – were involved and that anyone who was involved in leaking classified information would be fired. [50] On 10 June 2004, eight months after the formal outside investigation was begun and five months after the appointment of an Independent Counsel, President Bush responded affirmatively when asked by a reporter if he stood by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak.[51][52]

On 11 July 2005, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who had since become a grand jury witness himself, refused at a press conference to answer dozens of questions, repeatedly stating that the Bush Administration had made a decision not to comment on an "ongoing criminal investigation" involving White House staff.[53] McClellan declined to answer whether Rove had committed a crime. McClellan also declined to repeat prior categorical denials of Rove's involvement in the leak,[54] nor would he state whether Bush would honor his prior promise to fire individuals involved in the leak.[55][56][57] Although Democratic critics called for Rove's dismissal, or at the very least immediate suspension of Rove's security clearances and access to meetings in which classified material was under discussion, Rove remained working in the White House.

Neither Rove nor the President offered immediate public comment on the unfolding scandal.[58][59][60][61][62] Although some elected Republicans remained silent on the issue of the Valerie Plame leak and a White House compromise of national security, as of 18 July 2005, not a single elected Republican member of Congress had called for Rove to be disciplined or impeached. Rove was vociferously defended by Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman and by many conservative news outlets and commentators, some of whom followed cues laid out in a "talking points" memo, circulated among Republicans on Capitol Hill, which questioned Joseph Wilson's credibility.[63] Among others, David Brooks, conservative New York Times editorialist and NPR commentator, attacked Wilson on 14 July 2005 by falsely alleging that he had claimed Cheney sent him on the Niger mission, and that in speaking to Cooper and others, Rove was merely correcting a reporter's misconception.[64] In an even more extreme example of partisanship, the Editorial Board of The Wall Street Journal praised Rove on 13 July 2005 for leaking Plame's identity, referring to him as a "whistleblower."[65]

On 18 July 2005, after having brushed off similar questions about the Rove scandal for nearly a week, President Bush stated that "[i]f someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."[66] This was widely interpreted as a retraction of multiple earlier promises to fire anyone involved in the leak itself. Many news outlets speculated that Rove's (future) legal defense might be built upon testimony that he was ignorant of Plame's protected status at the time he outed her as a CIA employee; if it could be proven that he had heard of her CIA covert status before speaking to journalists, however, Rove could face far more serious charges. A New York Times story of 16 July 2005 suggested that the Independent Counsel grand jury has questioned whether a particular top secret State Department report naming Plame may have been the source of Rove's information.[67]. Colin Powell was photographed carrying the report in Africa in the company of the President in the days following the 6 July 2003 publication of Wilson's Op-Ed piece. Powell is reported to have testified before the grand jury.

On 25 July 2005, the Washington Post reported that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales was notified about the U.S. Justice Department investigation into the Plame memo leak on the evening of 29 September 2003. He promptly informed White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. about the investigation, but waited 12 hours before informing the general White House Staff. The White House Staff is, according to the article, usually quickly notified of any investigations so as to safeguard the integrity of any documents, emails or memoranda that might be required for the investigation. [68]

Congressional reactions

On July 15, 2005, 91 members of Congress signed a letter calling for Karl Rove to explain his role in the Plame affair, or to resign; 13 Democratic Members of the House Judiciary Committee have called for hearings on the matter. [69]

A Resolution of Inquiry has been offered by Rush Holt (D-NJ) and John Conyers (D-MI), requesting that the Bush Administration release all documents concerning the exposure of Ms. Plame.

Barney Frank (D-MA) and John Conyers (D-MI) have authorized the Library of Congress to research legal precedent for the impeachment of White House staffers. [70]

A series of nationwide town hall meetings has been scheduled for July 23 to review the Downing Street memo, the Plame affair, (sometimes called 'Rovegate'), and the sitaution in Iraq. [71].

As of 22 July 2005, no Republican member of Congress had publically voiced concern about a breach in national security, nor the continuing role of Karl Rove in the Bush Administration. As of 22 July 2005, not a single Republican member of the House of Representatives or Senate had called for Rove to be fired, impeached, disciplined, or even questioned about his reasons for leaking a CIA operative's identity.

Public opinion

In a scientific poll conducted July 13-17, 2005 by ABC News, a minority (47%) of people surveyed said the White House is not cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation; the remainder either had no opinion (28%) or thought the White House was fully cooperating (25%).[72]. According to the poll, "75 percent say Rove should lose his job if the investigation finds he leaked classified information. That includes sizable majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats alike — 71, 74 and 83 percent, respectively." ibid

Legal questions

Proving a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act involves several elements which may be difficult to establish in this case, however in compromising Valerie Plame's position, Rove may have broken other federal laws, including the Espionage Act, and the non-disclosure agreement people granted security clearance are required to sign.

There is precedent for prosecuting a leak under the Espionage Act. In United States v. Morison, Morison was convicted of espionage for leaking classified surveillance photos of a Soviet aircraft carrier to Jane's Defence Weekly. The court specifically found that there in no need under this law to show any "evil purpose." Morison unsuccessfully argued that he was trying to help the media avoid incorrect reporting on an alleged Soviet military buildup. [73]

In 2003, Sandy Berger, former Clinton administration National Security Advisor, removed classified documents from a National Archives reading room to prepare for his testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Even though no classified information leaked as a result, he plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act in mishandling the documents and his security clearance was suspended for 3 years.

According to John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist and former presidential counsel, Rove is likely to have violated Title 18, Section 641 of the United States Code, which prohibits the theft or conversion of government records for non-governmental use. [74]

In 2003, this law was successfully used to convict John Randel, a Drug Enforcement Agency analyst, for leaking the name of a DEA agent (Lord Ashcroft) to London media. In a statement to Randel, United States District Court Judge Richard Story wrote, "Anything that would affect the security of officers and of the operations of the agency would be of tremendous concern, I think, to any law-abiding citizen in this country." Due to pleading guilty, Randel's sentence was reduced from 500 years in a federal prison, to a year of imprisonment and three years of probation.

This may be seen as setting precedent for the prosecution of similar leaks, and Karl Rove is likely to face greater consequences than Randel if indicted for violating Section 641. Whereas Randel leaked sensitive information about a DEA agent, unlikely to affect the national security of the United States, Rove leaked the identity of a CIA agent, an expert on weapons of mass destruction, during a time when the United States was considering war based on a potential threat to its security from such weapons.

Supporters of Rove, including many Republicans, assert that he has testified truthfully, and interpret the law to favor Rove's account of ignorance as to Plame's specific CIA status.

Actual damage caused

Legal filings by Independent Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald contain many pages blanked out for security reasons, leading some observers to speculate that Fitzgerald has pursued the extent to which national security was compromised by the actions of Rove and others. On 18 July 2005, The Economist reported that Valerie Plame had been dissuaded by the CIA from publishing her own account of her exposure, suggesting that such an article would itself be a breach of national security. The Economist also reported that "affirmative measures" by the CIA were being taken to protect Plame's identity at the time Rove revealed her CIA affiliation to journalists.[75]


External links

Related SourceWatch articles

Dear ZPD,

Nearly 20,000 of you have signed our petition insisting that President Bush keep his word and fire those involved in the betrayal of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. With each passing day, the implications and evidence mount, and the White House wall of denial crumbles.

We cannot thank you enough. You have not only stood with us to demand accountability, you have helped us get the truth out to thousands of others.

We have watched time and again as Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, and other Republicans have stonewalled a scandal to death without any sign of remorse or accountability. They are certainly hoping to get away with it again here, but the persistence of people like you demanding that the highest ranks of your government meet the highest ethical standards has already ensured that they will not.

Click here to review the DCCC's Rove Resource Timeline now.

The Republicans first and foremost must worry about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, and despite what they may say, this is primarily about a criminal investigation spurred by their own Justice Department and CIA -- not by any Democrat. And with speculation about perjury and conspiracy charges growing every day based on reports of conflicting testimony before the Grand Jury, this is no small concern.

But we cannot allow the Republican's credo for Tom DeLay of "you may serve while indicted" to become the new ethical standard for American government. Karl Rove and other senior White House officials put an intelligence officer and those in contact with her at risk for partisan political reasons; they must be held accountable -- and must be removed from power.

You have stood with us, but the fight goes on. The Republicans are digging in for potentially months of disinformation, knowing that those at the heart of their party are in a hopelessly indefensible position. For that reason, we have compiled this fully-sourced timeline of events to set the record straight in a way that no amount of Republican spin can overcome.

Click here to review the DCCC's Rove Resource Timeline now.

Read the timeline, forward this email on, and keep it as a resource so you can go straight back to the facts during the next Republican propaganda blitz.

And stay tuned, we'll have much more to come. As I have said before, they will try to distract you -- but we here at the DCCC will make sure they are held accountable -- and that you have the facts.


John Lapp
Executive Director, DCCC

P.S. Thank you again for standing with us in this fight. To support the DCCC and our efforts to elect more Democrats to the House, please click here.

The Google News Coverage on the Traitors:

Washington Post
Rove's Backers Use 'CounterSpy Defense'
Consortium News - 1 hour ago
In defending White House political adviser Karl Rove, American conservatives have adopted an argument used by US leftists three decades ago to rebut ...
Poll respondents mixed on Karl Rove case Salem Statesman Journal
Karl Rove Says He Is Sorry The Spoof (satire)
Simmons' dismissal of Rove act surprising Norwich Bulletin

The Leak Moves to the Hill
Washington Post, United States - 35 minutes ago
By Dan Froomkin. Republican Congressional leaders are planning hearings about some of the issues raised by the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. ...
What Did the President Know?
Washington Post, United States - 22 hours ago
By Dan Froomkin. Now that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is said to have expanded his investigation into the leak of a ...
Stop trying to spin the Iraq war
CNN - Jul 25, 2005
By Joe Klein. "You're gonna protect me on this, right?" the magic words. When someone in Washington makes that request and a journalist ...
The Rove problem
CNN - Jul 25, 2005
By Nancy Gibbs. Valerie Plame had no reason to welcome a reporter into her home last week. Reporters tell stories and trade secrets ...
Senate Panel to Examine Use of Cover by US Spies
New York Times, United States - Jul 25, 2005
The Senate Intelligence Committee will conduct hearings on American spy agencies' use of cover to protect the identities of intelligence officers, the ...
A neighbor's view of Valerie Wilson's 'outing'
USA Today - Jul 24, 2005
By Christopher Wolf. Joe and Valerie Wilson are my next door neighbors in a hilly neighborhood just west of Georgetown. We moved ...
Gonzales responds to '12 hours' questions
Science Daily (press release) - Jul 24, 2005
Gonzales testified in leak investigation (July 24, 2005) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he had been called last year to testify before a grand jury ...
Democrats spotlight CIA leak in radio address, New Zealand - Jul 24, 2005
WASHINGTON: Democrats attacked US President George W Bush's response to a top aide's role in outing a CIA operative yesterday, turning their radio address over ...
Rove scandal chipping at Bush agenda
Australian, Australia - Jul 24, 2005
THE main reason the growing scandal around Karl Rove matters - aside from the fact that a senior White House official may have committed a felony - is that it ...
Bush's 'brain' in danger of lobotomy
The Age (subscription), Australia - Jul 24, 2005
Karl Rove, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and George Bush's closest political adviser for more than three decades, is fighting for his political life. ...
Gonzales testified in leak investigation
Science Daily (press release) - Jul 24, 2005
White House rapped for Plame leak (July 22, 2005) -- A former CIA official says it is wrong and shameful for the White House to protect aides involved in ...
White House aides' testimony differs from reporters'
Chicago Sun-Times, United States - Jul 24, 2005
Two top White House aides have given accounts to a special prosecutor about how reporters first told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with ...
For Bush, repercussions of leak case are uncertain
Seattle Times, United States - Jul 24, 2005
By RICHARD W. STEVENSON. WASHINGTON — His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials ...
Double super-secret what?
Denver Post, CO - Jul 24, 2005
In the frenzy over Karl Rove's role in the naming of CIA operative Valerie Plame, one question has gone comparatively unexplored: What in the world is "double ...
Now, getting back to issue that we'd been discussing
Houston Chronicle, United States - Jul 23, 2005
By CRAGG HINES. With John G. Roberts Jr. all but at his tailor to be fitted for new Supreme Court robes, we can return to the question ...
Leak Investigation: The Russert Deal—What It Reveals
Newsweek - Jul 23, 2005
Aug. 1 issue - A deal that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald cut last year for NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert's testimony ...
Gregory Stanford
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI - Jul 23, 2005
My mind of late has been entertaining a heresy: that the Bush White House doesn't take its own war on terrorism seriously. Rather ...
This plot calls for big-name cast of characters
Minneapolis Star Tribune (subscription), MN - Jul 23, 2005
I feel it's time for me to step forward and tell what I know about Karl Rove's conversation with columnist Robert Novak in which Mr. Novak reportedly told Mr ...
Democrats spotlight CIA leak in radio address
Reuters Canada, Canada - Jul 23, 2005
By Caren Bohan. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats attacked President Bush's response to a top aide's role in outing a CIA operative ...
Ex-Diplomat's Surprise Volley on Iraq Drove White House Into ...
New York Times, United States - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON, July 22 - President Bush was celebrating his 57th birthday at the White House on July 6, 2003, a muggy midsummer Sunday. ...
CIA Leak Investigation Turns to Possible Perjury, Obstruction
Chicago Tribune, United States - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON — The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from determining whether White House officials violated a law against ...
Former Plame Colleague Criticizes President Bush and His Aides
Bloomberg - Jul 23, 2005
July 23 (Bloomberg) -- A former CIA colleague of Valerie Plame and professed Republican gave the Democrats' weekly radio address, saying President George W ...
Former CIA Agent Criticizes Bush Handling of Plame Affair
Voice of America - Jul 23, 2005
By VOA News. A former US intelligence agent has criticized President Bush's response to a White House advisor's involvement in leaking ...
For Bush, Effect of Investigation of CIA Leak Case Is Uncertain
New York Times, United States - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON, July 23 - His former secretary of state, most of his closest aides and a parade of other senior officials have testified to a grand jury. ...
Democrats spotlight CIA leak in radio address, UK - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats slammed President George W. Bush's response to a top aide's role in outing a covert CIA operative on Saturday, turning their ...
Democrats spotlight CIA leak in radio address
Reuters - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats attacked President Bush's response to a top aide's role in outing a CIA operative on Saturday, turning their radio address ...
Ex-CIA official blasts Bush on leak of operative's name
CNN - Jul 23, 2005
(CNN) -- A former CIA intelligence official who once worked with Valerie Plame blasted President Bush and his administration for their response to the role of ...
Ex-CIA officer say Bush must act on leak
MSNBC - Jul 23, 2005
WASHINGTON - President Bush is jeopardizing national security by not disciplining Karl Rove for his role in leaking the name of a CIA officer, and has hampered ...
Rove's Backers Use 'CounterSpy Defense'
Consortium News - 1 hour ago
By Robert Parry. In defending White House political adviser Karl Rove, American conservatives have adopted an argument used by US ...
Karl Rove Says He Is Sorry
The Spoof (satire), UK - 4 hours ago
Karl Rove, the Senior Advisor to President Bush, has apologized for leaking the identity of Joe Wilson's wife. He claims that he ...

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