Rove In The Crosshairs

Ken AshfordPlamegateLeave a Comment

I haven’t been following the minutae of Plamegate lately, but if this is true, it doesn’t bode well for Karl Rove:

In late January 2004, the grand jury investigating whether top officials in the Bush administration knowingly leaked Valerie Plame Wilson’s name and covert CIA status to reporters subpoenaed the White House for records of administration contacts with more than two-dozen journalists going back two years, to determine if any officials talked about Plame with the media.

According to people close to Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe, one such document was not turned over to the grand jury by the Feb. 6, 2004 deadline: an email White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove had sent in July 2003 to then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. In the email, Rove told Hadley that he spoke to Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the administration’s prewar Iraq intelligence.

Rove testified before the grand jury for the first time in February 2004. At the time, he didn’t disclose that he had been one of the anonymous sources for Cooper and conservative columnist Robert Novak. The two filed the first stories on Plame, identifying her as a CIA operative.

The grand jury subpoenaed the White House for any information concerning contacts with the 25 reporters on Jan. 22, 2004. It was the second time a directive was issued ordering White House officials to turn over records to determine if officials had spoken about Plame, her husband, and the administration’s claims that Iraq had attempted to acquire uranium-the key component for a nuclear bomb-from Niger with journalists.

Three months earlier, in late 2003, then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales enjoined all White House staff to turn over any communication about Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband. Gonzales’ request came 12 hours after senior White House officials had been told of the pending investigation. The email Rove sent to Hadley never turned up in that request either, people close to the investigation said.

Rove’s alleged failure to disclose his conversations with Cooper and Novak and the fact that he didn’t turn over the Hadley email on two separate occasions is the reason he’s been in Fitzgerald’s crosshairs and may end up being indicted, people close to the investigation said.