Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 17, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

"I'VE ALREADY SAID TOO MUCH"....As I suspected, there was nothing really new in Matt Cooper's account of his grand jury testimony last week. After all, Cooper's role was small, and as he puts it, "Like the blindfolded man and the elephant, all I know is what seems to be in front of me." Here are the key paragraphs:

As for Wilson's wife, I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which. Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the "agency" by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that she worked on "WMD" (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife.

Rove never once indicated to me that she had any kind of covert status. I told the grand jury something else about my conversation with Rove. Although it's not reflected in my notes or subsequent e-mails, I have a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, "I've already said too much." This could have meant he was worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else. I don't know, but that sign-off has been in my memory for two years.

....So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the "agency" on "WMD"? Yes. When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me. At this point, I'm as curious as anyone else to see what Patrick Fitzgerald has.

I don't know what Rove's cryptic admission that "I've already said too much" means although the standard interpretation certainly seems most likely but Cooper also writes that "Rove told me material was going to be declassified in the coming days that would cast doubt on Wilson's mission and his findings." Perhaps Rove and others in the White House were actively seeking to get Valerie Plame's status declassified so they could make their smears publicly instead of on deep background? If that's the case, it would mean they knew full well they were leaking classified information.

Then again, maybe not. It's all just speculation at this point.

Kevin Drum 12:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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