How can I be both so bored and so fascinated at the same time?
The Rovians have succeeded in planting stories in both the NY Times and the Washington Post that take the heat off Rove. Apparently, according to a (his) lawyer who is familiar with the Grand Jury testimony, Rove only learned the name of Joe Wilson’s wife from Novak. Rove had been informed by another reporter, whose identity he has conveniently forgotten, that Wilson’s wife was in the CIA. But he didn’t learn her identity until Novak mentioned it. And even then, Novak was erroneously using her maiden name.
Let’s assume this is true. One possibility is that a reporter knew Plame was in the CIA, and they learned that information by accident, or over drinks with someone who was indiscreet. Having learned this classified information, they called Rove and asked him about it. Rove had no clue. But when Novak called, he remembered his prior conversation and said, “yeah, I heard that too.”
Well, how did Novak learn of Plame’s secret job? Did the reporter call him too?
No! This is ridiculous. Even assuming Rove’s story is true, someone leaked to a reporter, who then called Rove for confirmation. Rove couldn’t confirm. But the next reporter to call him asked the same question. And then he confirmed he had heard the rumor.
But this is all bunk.
Does Novak go to press based on Rove confirming he had heard a rumor? No!
Novak got confirmation from Rove, not “I heard that too”.
Now let’s back up. Rove knows nothing beyond the fact that a reporter asked him whether he could confirm that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA. He couldn’t.
Novak calls him. He asks the same question. Rove tells Novak he has heard that rumor too. Novak asks if he can confirm it. Rove says no. Novak prints her name anyway.
Or, Rove confirms it. How can he do that? Well, maybe he confirmed in between the two phone calls.
A few days later he offers up this information to Matt Cooper, unsolicited. He is leaking classified information and outing a undercover operative. It doesn’t matter that a few reporters have this information. He could refuse to confirm it, as his security clearance requires. But he doesn’t refuse to confirm it. In fact, he offers it up voluntarily.
I find this whole scenario to be improbable. But even it is true, Rove had no reason to think that Plame was not undercover. He knew she worked on WMD. He had reporters asking him if he could confirm she worked at the agency. Clearly she was not a janitor or food service employee who openly worked at the CIA.
He’s guilty of indiscretion at the very least. No matter how you spin it, he knowingly leaked the identity of an undercover operative to people not authorized to receive that information. He’s guilty.
And if his story is true, someone else is even more guilty because they initiated the leaks that caused the reporters to call Rove in the first place.