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Monday, July 25, 2005

Weekend Plame Developments: II

Saturday's Leonnig-VandeHei piece on RoveWarLiesDeathGate was very interesting to read. One observation is that there are lots of places in that article where the sourcing is left especially vague -- in some cases it's obviously the declined-to-comment Robert Luskin talking, but in others you have to wonder whether either someone from Fitzgerald's office is talking (Fed Throat?), or whether pissed-off lawyers representing other players -- especially reporters -- have had enough of the WH's circus of dishonest leaks.

In any case, here's a very interesting tidbit:
Two lawyers involved in the case say that although Fitzgerald used phone logs to determine some contacts between officials and reporters, they believe there is no phone record of Cooper's now-famous call to Rove in the days before Novak's column appeared. That is because Cooper called the White House switchboard and was reconnected to Rove's office, sources said.

Also, when first questioned in the days after Plame's name appeared in the press, Rove left the impression with top White House aides that he had talked about her only with Novak, according to a source familiar with information provided to investigators.

That second graf is interesting for multiple reasons. First, it tells us that Rove did, in fact, talk to "top WH aides" about some part of his role in this escapade. To whom would you expect Rove to talk? Well, Andy Card is an obvious person, since he is and was Rove's titular boss (whether or not that's a fair description of the actual hiearchy). You'd probably also expect Ari Fleischer to be there, and possibly -- but much less likely -- Alberto Gonzales.

Second, if you read the graf carefully, you see that it doesn't say that Rove told top WH aides he told Novak about Plame/Wilson -- just that he "talked about her". Which would be consistent with Rove's (now totally discredited) claims that he didn't leak classified information (namely, Joe Wilson's wife's job at the CIA).

Third, the graf doesn't say that "Rove told top White House aides that he had talked about her..." No. Rove "left the impression". Which tells you that even then he was probably choosing his words carefully, which tells you that he probably understood he faced some potential jeopardy here.

Fourth, who is the "source familiar with information provided to investigators"? Could be Luskin, but I don't see how this graf, juxtaposed against the preceding one, is helpful to Rove. Makes you wonder if someone else in the inner circle is now trying to keep focus on Rove and off of him- or herself.


Blogger strategery4 said...

Didn't Rove say that he told then-Deputy Nat'l Security Adviser Steve Hadley about his call to Cooper? Would make sense that he told Hadley about Novak too -- so perhaps that's (one of) the senior WH aide. But it's not consistent with the coyness re Novak only.

7/27/2005 2:33 AM  

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