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DNC begins Rove assault: What did Rove know and when did he know it


EXCLUSIVE: The Democratic National Committee fired this salvo at Bush confidante Karl Rove in a statement to reporters Monday evening. Until now, the Party has remained relatively silent on the matter.



At the White House briefing today, Scott McClellan repeatedly stonewalled legitimate questions from reporters about his earlier assertions - now proven false - that Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was not involved in the illegal disclosure of a CIA operative's identity. According to reports this morning, Karl Rove had detailed conversations about Valerie Plame’s classified, national security responsibilities with at least one political reporter.


“Karl Rove and his high priced lawyers might disagree, but the truth is Rove betrayed the identity of an undercover officer fighting on the front lines in the war on terror. These actions are particularly egregious in a time of war,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. “President Bush should demonstrate his commitment to the war on terror by holding his own people accountable. It is disturbing that this high ranking Bush Advisor is not only still working in the White House, but now has a significant role in setting our National Security policy.”

See below for a new document from DNC research:

Until recently, Karl Rove had denied even knowing Valerie Plame's name. Then, after the release of emails from Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper revealing the name of the White House source, Rove's lawyer confirmed that Rove did speak with reporters about the case. Now, previously secret Time emails reveal that Rove did indeed leak to Cooper information about "Wilson's wife"-Plame. Rove had a short conversation with Time reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, three days before Robert D. Novak publicly exposed Plame in a column about her husband, Joseph Wilson. This new evidence raises a host of new unanswered questions.

"If left unpunished, this cowardly act will not only hinder our efforts to recruit qualified individuals into the clandestine service, but it will have a far-reaching, deleterious effect on our ability to recruit foreign intelligence assets overseas."

-Larry Johnson, former CIA Analyst [Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, 10/24/03]


Rove Told Cooper That It Was "Wilson's Wife" Who Worked on WMDs for the CIA. Rove had a conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003. Cooper wrote an email about the conversation to his Time bureau chief. In the email, Cooper described how Rove gave him a "big warning" that Wilson's assertions might not be entirely accurate and that it was not the director of the CIA or the vice president who sent Wilson on his trip. Rather, "it was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd who authorized the trip." Wilson's wife is Valerie Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]


  1. Now that we know that Rove told Cooper about "Wilson's wife," who told Rove? Rove had to find out about Plame and her job from someone. Where did this information come from?


Rove Gave Cooper Permission to Testify-Allowing Cooper to Avoid Jail Time-But Miller Chose to Go to Jail. Rove's Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove was the secret source who, at the request of both Cooper's lawyer and the prosecutor, gave Cooper permission to testify. Cooper avoided jail time last week by agreeing to testify before the grand jury about conversations with his sources, while New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to discuss her confidential sources. [Washington Post, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]


  1. Who in the Bush Administration told Judith Miller about Plame? The information cannot have come from Rove, since Rove has "released" Cooper from confidentiality. If Rove were Miller's source, wouldn't he do the same for her? So who was Miller-a reporter working on WMDs-talking to?


Rove Had Previously Denied Any Involvement: In August 2004, Rove Claimed He Did Not Know Who Plame Was. In August of 2004, facing questions of his role in the Plame leak scandal, Rove denied his involvement, saying that he did not even know who Plame was at the time of the leak. "Well, I'll repeat what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke some number of months ago. I didn't know her name and didn't leak her name." [CNN, 7/4/05]

Yet, Cooper's Email Shows Rove Speaking to Reporters 3 Days Before Plame's Name Became Public. To be considered a violation of the law, a disclosure by a government official must have been deliberate, the discloser must have known that the CIA officer was a covert agent, and he or she must have known that the government was actively concealing the covert agent's identity. According to Newsweek, although Cooper's email does not prove that Rove knew Plame was a covert operative, " is significant that Rove was speaking to Cooper before Novak's column appeared; in other words, [three days] before Plame's identity had been published." [WP, 7/11/05; Newsweek, 7/18/05]

In Rove's Defense, His Lawyer Claims that Rove Did Not Identify Plame by Name-But Who Else Could "Wilson's Wife" Be? According to the Washington Post, "Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name." Yet, the substance of the email from Cooper to Time editors states that it was "Wilson's wife." Since Wilson obviously had only one wife and everyone knew who it was, Rove unquestionably did identify Plame. [Washington Post, 7/11/05]


  1. If Rove is innocent, then why would he claim that he didn't know who Plame was? What did he have to hide? Why was he so careful, saying that "I didn't know her name and didn't leak her name" instead of just admitting that he revealed "Wilson's wife" to Cooper? Even though Cooper's email does not indicate that Rove knew what Plame's job was, couldn't this fact simply mean that Rove did not reveal any more than needed to Cooper?


McClellan Said Rove Never Told Reporters that Plame Worked for CIA. In October of 2003 White House Press Secretary, Scott McCllelan was asked during a White House Briefing, "Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?" McClellan responded by denying that Rove or the others had assured him that they had not leaked any classified information. "Those individuals - I talked - I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that's where it stands." [WH Briefing, 10/10/03]


Did Rove commit perjury in front of the grand jury? We know his initial public statements and his statements to Scott McClellan were false. And we know that after testifying once, they called him back. Did Rove change his answers to the grand jury the same way he changed his answers to the press?

Originally published on Monday July 11, 2005.


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