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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Saturday, 2 July 2005

Topic: Breaking News

Busted: Friday Night Follies

As the friends of young Harry Potter would say, the news is of "He Who Cannot Be Named" - breaking late in the week, Friday night, after the news cycles closed -

From Editor and Publisher:
MSNBC Analyst Says Cooper Documents Reveal Karl Rove as Source in Plame Case
Published: July 01, 2005 11:30 PM ET
NEW YORK - Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to federal court, presumably revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant on the name of that source, and what might happen to him or her. Tonight, on the syndicated McLaughlin Group political talk show, Lawrence O'Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, claimed to know that name - and it is, according to him, top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

Here is the transcript of O'Donnell's remarks:

"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's e-mails, within Time Magazine, are handed over to the grand jury, the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.

"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."

Other panelists then joined in discussing whether, if true, this would suggest a perjury rap for Rove, if he told the grand jury he did not leak to Cooper. …
The business with Time Magazine keeping its reporter out of jail, and avoiding big fines, by releasing his confidential sources, and the New York Times going the other way, isn't just a media story now. (Quick summary here.) It seems something is up. Rove is, it seems, the fellow who exposed the name of a covert CIA agent, ended her career, and possibly shut down a number of intelligence gathering operations on loose nuclear weapons, in order to punish her husband for telling on Rove's boss, George Bush. Robert Novak is the one journalist who published the name.

This story is still alive? Last July 4 this came up in these pages in a discussion of Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" -
The other day, on the CNN show Crossfire, Robert Novak called Moore un-American. Simply un-American. Of course Novak is the man who gladly published the name of an undercover CIA agent (Valerie Plame) who had been working on our efforts to get nuclear stuff off the black market. He blew her cover to help punish her husband for exposing Bush and crew fibbing about Iraq trying to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. He sees no problem with that. Yeah, he knows a lot about a being a good American.
One year later Novak is still in the clear and still a star on CNN, while Miller and Cooper, who published nothing, face jail time.

What's up with that?

This is what’s up, as explained by Jeralyn Merritt at one of the legal blogs -
Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald has stated in court pleadings that he already knows the identity of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper's sources regarding the senior white house official who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame to Robert Novak.

… So, why is it so necessary for them to provide the information?

As the Washington Post article suggests, the investigation has moved from one involving the identity of the White House official to one involving perjury - i.e., a cover-up. The source may have been questioned in front of the grand jury and lied.

Knowing the identity of the source is not enough for a perjury conviction. There must be two witnesses to the perjurious statement. Telephone records would not be enough, because they only provide the number dialed, not the identity of the person speaking. Matthew Cooper's and Judith Miller's e-mails and notes may provide that corroboration.
Ah, it's not the crime so much as the cover-up. This sounds familiar, kind of like the good old days of the early seventies.

Lawrence O'Donnell himself confirms here:

Rove Blew CIA Agent's Cover
I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

McLaughlin is seen in some markets on Friday night, so some websites have picked it up, including Drudge, but I don't expect it to have much impact because McLaughlin is not considered a news show and it will be pre-empted in the big markets on Sunday because of tennis.

Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.
With Bush in Europe, the turmoil mounting over the Supreme Court nomination to come, selling the war not going well, the news on the ground dismal and recruiting figures in trouble, with dismantling Social Security seeming less and less likely - would Newsweek really kick Bush when he's down by running with a story that his chief advisor and life-long friend pulled an illegal dumb-ass revenge trick and then liked about it?


And who is this panelist on "The McLaughlin Group" making so much trouble for Bush right now, just up and naming "He Who Cannot Be Named" on national television? You could look it up. Lawrence O'Donnell is a good Irish-Catholic fellow from Boston who now lives out here in la-la land and is executive producer of "The West Wing" television show. He's done some screenplays. The "West Wing" episode he co-wrote on the death penalty won the 2000 Humanitas Prize for writing that "communicate(s) those values which most enrich the human person." A dilettante? From 1989 until 1992 he served as Senior Advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He began his association with Moynihan as Director of Communications in the Senator's 1988 re-election campaign. He's the former Chief of Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. Harvard, class of '76 - so he's not just a Hollywood guy. Odd.

Kevin Drum in his "Political Animal" column over at Washington Monthly isn't surprised -
... We all remember what Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, said two years ago: "At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs. And trust me, when I use that name, I measure my words."

Based on this and other tidbits of information, Rove and 'Scooter' Libby have been the prime suspects for a while. What's more, the White House knows it. So if Newsweek does break this story on Sunday, what do you think their reaction will be? They've had plenty of time to prepare for this day, after all.

My guess would be: furious counterattack. Karl did nothing wrong. Everybody knew about Plame already. Wilson is on a witch-hunt. Patrick Fitzgerald is out of control. Liberals are just trying to get even for Clinton. Etc.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

But perhaps Newsweek, after be so roundly scolded by the White House over the Koran business, and sort of retracting and apologizing (see May 22, 2005 - Newsweek, Suckered, Sucks the Air Out of the Room), will not run with this. Who needs the trouble? The White House may have taken care of them already.

Posted by Alan at 12:56 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink

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