Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Spin Continues

Friday's Washington Post and New York Times both report Karl Rove's latest story: He did not reveal Valerie Plame's C.I.A. identity; he only confirmed it indirectly after Robert Novak told him he had heard from another source that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A., and that she had suggested sending Wilson to Africa to investigate the Niger yellowcake intelligence. Rove said, "I heard that, too." Through his lawyer, Rove claimed that the reason he already knew what Novak was talking about was because he had heard it from another journalist (whose name he could not recall). Novak used Rove's indirect confirmation as his second senior administration source, and published the column outing Valerie Plame a week later.

This newest storyline from the White House sounds transparently rehearsed -- especially in the New York Times account.

Karl Rove, the White House senior adviser, spoke with the columnist Robert D. Novak as he was preparing an article in July 2003 that identified a C.I.A. officer who was undercover, someone who has been officially briefed on the matter said.

Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak's account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too."

The previously undisclosed telephone conversation, which took place on July 8, 2003, was initiated by Mr. Novak, the person who has been briefed on the matter said.
The person who provided the information about Mr. Rove's conversation with Mr. Novak declined to be identified, citing requests by Mr. Fitzgerald that no one discuss the case. The person discussed the matter in the belief that Mr. Rove was truthful in saying that he had not disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity.

A lot of briefing going on here, don't you think? I can practically hear the director shouting, "And...CUT! That's a print!" after the 25th take.

Quoting the practiced response of Rove's lawyer to questions about how Rove already knew about Joseph Wilson's wife when Novak mentioned it to him ("I don't think that he has a clear recollection. He's told [investigators] that he believes he may have heard it from a journalist.") Kevin Drum says, drolly, "Well, maybe so. Maybe he heard it from Judith Miller. Who knows?"

Juan Cole responds to Rove's beliefs with similarly understated irony. "I know that Mr. Rove has alleged that he heard about Valerie Plame from a reporter. But you have to be very careful with Mr. Rove's statements," given that he tends to define "telling the truth" in very narrow terms.

Before the Cooper revelations, he said that he did not know Joe Wilson's wife's name and did not reveal it. We now know that he told Cooper that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, without naming her.

So when he says that he heard that she worked for the CIA from a reporter, you have to ask yourself. Did he hear that from a reporter after he had already informed the reporter of it? Or did he hear it from a reporter after Scooter Libby, Rove's colleague, had already told the reporter about it?

The Rove philosophy of truth-telling also shows up in the current campaign by Rove and his Republican minions to discredit Joseph Wilson's findings that the documents alleging an attempted purchase of yellowcake by Saddam's Iraq from Niger were fraudulent.

The rightwing propaganda machine has geared up to insist that Wilson's findings of no plausible Iraqi purchase of Niger uranium were untrue. Hunh? There was no Iraqi nuclear weapons program. It had been dismantled shortly after 1991. There was no program, ipso facto there is no plausibility to reports of significant uranium purchases, purchases which did not occur. The Rove approach is to insist that there is evidence that some creature ate grass on a farm in Maryland, and that it has not been disproved that it was African elephants that did the eating. That there are no free-ranging African elephants in Maryland does not matter if you keep pointing to the grass and say, well, something ate it and it could have been elephants.

There was no Iraqi nuclear program, and Rove knew this in [the] summer of 2003 when he outed Valerie Plame.

Want proof? Go to

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