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Testimony from Rove, Libby and Reporters Apparently Contradictory

Top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby apparently testified to a special prosecutor that they each learned of CIA Operative Valerie Plame’s name from reporters — which apparently contradicts infromation provided by the reporters.

Bloomberg Business News, relying on sources familiar with the testimony, reported today that Libby, who is Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame’s identity from NBC News reporter Tim Russert.

But Russert apparently has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.


Meanwhile, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove apparently told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson, has apparently said the opposite. In 2003, Novak said: “I didn’t dig it out, it was given to me. They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.”

There are also contradictions between accounts given by Rove and Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper. The White House aide mentioned Wilson’s wife — though not by name — in a July 11, 2003, conversation with Cooper, the reporter has said. Rove apparently testified that Cooper called him to talk about welfare reform and the Wilson connection was mentioned later, in passing.

Cooper wrote in Time magazine last week that he told the grand jury he never discussed welfare reform with Rove in that call.


The “he said/he said” has to be sorted out by Fitzgerald, part of a broader effort to determine whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation.

The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a covert intelligence agent.

The CIA requested the inquiry after Novak reported in a July 14, 2003, column that Plame recommended her husband for a 2002 mission to check into reports Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Wilson, in a July 6, 2003, article in the New York Times, had said President Bush’s administration “twisted” some of the intelligence on Iraq’s weapons to justify the war.

Fitzgerald’s term of service lasts until October, which is also the length of time remaining for the grand jury hearing evidence in the case.


This article first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.

About David R. Mark

  • Dave Nalle

    If I can come up with something that matches a supposed talking point just by applying logic then maybe the talking point isn’t that far off the mark.


  • Deeno

    Dave N,

    What matters is that at the time Rove talked to Cooper, the identity of Rove was not public and the CIA considered it secret. Even if Rove is telling the truth about Novak bringing up Plame (which is highly doubtful), it was against an executive order and his secrecy agreement to even confirm it, much less volunteer the information to Cooper. Keep trying. Maybe Rove’s attorney could find a use for your tortured logic.

  • Nancy

    Deeno, I think you mean ‘the identity of Plame….’ Tha’s awright; I see by the time on your post that it’s very, very late. Or very, very early. :)

    Dave, while I sympathize w/your valiant attempts to defend Rove, I think your boy is going down. Latest news reports on radio state that Fitz is zeroing in on discrepancies & issues of perjury as well as outing Plame, & Smirk has stopped holding Karl’s hand in public. I suspect the wh is getting ready to throw him to the wolves – or sharks – or Shark – or whatever.

  • Billy Braindeath

    Deeno, I tried to read your last comment, but it made no sense. Plus why do you just automatically assume that Rove is lying and not Novak? It’s interesting that both are conservatives and yet you seem to have more hatred for Rove just because he’s part of the administration. More Bushating on parade.


  • gonzo marx

    this history between Novak and Rove working together to push forward neocon agendas goes all the way back to the Bush 1 administration…

    Rove was fired for questionable ethics surrounding some shenanigans involving Novak by Bush senior…

    now, simple research can show Rove’s handiwork in Texas, during the 2000 primaries and on to the present day…

    Novak is no gem when it comes to ethical behaviour…but he does NOT have any kind of security clearance, therefor he cannot “leak” that type of information…a previous comment nailed is in definitive violation for ANYONE with a clearance to either divulge or confirm such information…

    they are actually supposed to report anyone without clearance that has such knowledge and asks for confirmation…

    so, if everything Rove and Novak have stated is completely true…then Rove is still in violation of his security clearance

    nuff said?


  • Deeno


    Novak and Rove are both conservative, but Rove has the much greater motive to lie. Novak is pretty well off the hook, it would appear.

    I don’t hate Bush. I just think he’s a lying, incompetent, hypocritical bastard who has taken our country down a disasterous path of destruction and disrespect around the world. But I’d love to have a beer with him.

    Thanks Nancy (yawn) Yes, it does look as though Fitzgerald is no respector of politically powerful lawbreakers.

    Gonzo, you nailed it again.

  • Dave Nalle

    If Rove and Novak work so closely together, then why isn’t Novak, who has gotten so much value from Rove, covering for him here? Novak could easily have backed up Rove’s version of events and come out just looking like a reporter who got lucky.

    >>I don’t hate Bush. I just think he’s a lying, incompetent, hypocritical bastard who has taken our country down a disasterous path of destruction and disrespect around the world. But I’d love to have a beer with him. <<

    Oh yeah, sounds like you’ve got a really unbiased take on Bush there.


  • Deeno


    Now when did I ever claim to be unbiased when it comes to Bush? I live in Texas. I drink beer with assholes all the time.

  • Deeno

    And Dave,

    When getting caught “covering” for someone involves ten years in the slammer it’s not surprising that people get awfully honest before a federal grand jury. That’s what brought Nixon down and it will bring Bush down. Rove pushed it a little too far on this one and now he’s “got his tit in a wringer” to paraphrase John Mitchell of Watergate fame. That may seem gender inappropriate, but Rove is pretty much a girly man.

  • Dave Nalle

    So you’re a homophobe too, Deeno? Guess that makes it easier to drink beer with ‘assholes’. Here in my part of Texas I can find pretty openminded people to drink with.


  • David R. Mark

    Interesting post about Russert’s involvement — and his vague public persona regarding his testimony — today at