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July 18, 2005

Cooper claims he learned of Plame through Rove

Cooper claims he learned of Plame through Rove

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Monday, July 18, 2005

In a TIME magazine article, reporter Matthew Cooper claimed he learned that Plame worked with the CIA through a conversation with Karl Rove. However, he denied that Rove directly named Valerie Plame. He also revealed that he discussed Plame with Lewis Libby, the deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney.

The revelation corroborates Rove’s testimony to the grand jury, leaked to several news sources, that he learned of Plame’s name from Robert Novak and another journalist (Rove testified that he cannot remember which one), and that he did tell Cooper in a later discussion that Joseph Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, though he testified he never mentioned Plame by name.

In a Sunday MSNBC Meet the Press broadcast, Cooper said he secured a more specific written waiver from two sources, Rove and Libby, which led him to reverse his earlier refusal to cooperate with the federal grand jury investigation into the CIA disclosure of Plame. This second waiver was signed only hours prior to the contempt of court proceedings that would have put him in jail, the fate of the New York Times reporter Judith Miller who refused to reveal her sources to the same court. He said during the broadcast there were other White House sources as well, but declined during the interview to disclose their names.

The waiver Cooper secured releases him from the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. He wrote a 1st person account of the conversation with Rove that was published Sunday on the TIME Online Edition. In a marketing move made by TIME, they turned the high interest in the story into an online money maker by charging $1.99 for access to the story. 6 print issues of the magazine come with the purchase.

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July 17, 2005

Rep. Waxman: Karl Rove violated non-disclosure agreement

Rep. Waxman: Karl Rove violated non-disclosure agreement

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Sunday, July 17, 2005

House representative Henry Waxman (D-Cal) released on Friday a fact sheet from a “briefing booklet” that Karl Rove received when he signed the classified information nondisclosure agreement (SF-312). Executive Order 12958 requires that a person sign this standard form before being granted security clearance. The briefing booklet states that:

Before confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of the SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.

The nondisclosure agreement and the executive order require sanctions against security clearance holders who “knowingly, willfully, or negligently” disclose classified information. The sanctions for such a breach include “reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions.

The agreement requires that violators be subject to appropriate sanctions, regardless of whether or not they knew they were leaking classified information:

Officers and employees of the United States Government … shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently … disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified.

This information was provided to YubaNet by Representative Waxman, and discussed in detail here.

The case, however, is being tried under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The strictest interpretation of the act limits breaking it to

knowingly

reveal the identity of an undercover agent. There is only one publicly known conviction for the law. CIA employee Sharon Scranage, who pleaded guilty in 1985. She served 8 months out of a 5 year conviction for revealing to her boyfriend the names of other agents while stationed in Ghana.

Was Plame a covert agent?

The case is clouded by reckoning on the covert status of Valerie Plame when the leak occurred. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for an FBI probe 10 days after the July 13, 2003 column by Robert Novak identified her as an agent. A Chicago native and appointed special prosecutor, Patrik Fitzgerald took over the case 19 months ago. That the case continues today says something in itself.

Critics of the investigation believe the case is overblown because it was widely known in Washington social power circles that Plame worked for the CIA.

A MediaMatters report on the widely publicized quote by Joseph Wilson, who said, “My wife was not a clandestine officer… “, was misconstrued by the press.

BLITZER: But the other argument that’s been made against you is that you’ve sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife [in the January 2004 Vanity Fair magazine], who was a clandestine officer of the CIA, and that you’ve tried to enrich yourself writing this book and all of that.

What do you make of those accusations, which are serious accusations, as you know, that have been leveled against you?

WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.

BLITZER: But she hadn’t been a clandestine officer for some time before that?

WILSON: That’s not anything that I can talk about. And, indeed, I’ll go back to what I said earlier, the CIA believed that a possible crime had been committed, and that’s why they referred it to the Justice Department.

In the full context of the above CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports televised broadcast, Wilson was responding to mean that after Robert Novak’s column ran, his wife was no longer a clandestine officer. The Vanity Fair coverage given Wilson with wife Plame was a result of the publicity that ensued from the column written by Novack. The photo shoots did not occur before the disclosure, they came in January 2004.

The Associated Press reported the Wilson-Blitzer interview as follows:

…CNN Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying [White House senior adviser Karl] Rove’s conduct was an “outrageous abuse of power … certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House.”

But at the same time, Wilson acknowledged his wife was no longer in an undercover job at the time Novak’s column first identified her. “My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity,” he said.

Federal law prohobits goverment [sic] officials from divulging the identity…

Media outlets followed the AP lead with their own reporting that mirrored AP report.

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July 15, 2005

US Senate debates Rove and intelligence access

US Senate debates Rove and intelligence access

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Friday, July 15, 2005

GOP Senators voted down an amendment “To protect classified information and to protect our servicemen and women.”, attached to a “Department of Homeland Security Appropriations” Bill. The amendment would have revoked access to classified information from federal employees who disclose the information to unauthorized sources. This followed an attempt by Democratic Senators to strip White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove of his security clearance.

The amendment comes as George W. Bush declined to reaffirm his pledge to fire any official involved in the leaking of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame after documents subpoenaed by the U.S. Supreme Court named his chief advisor Karl Rove as a source of the leak.

In a press briefing on September 29th, 2004, White House spokesman Scott McClellan, in response to the question “Scott, has anyone — has the president tried to find out who outed the CIA agent? And has he fired anyone in the White House yet?”, stated that “The president has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He’s made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.” [1] The next day, in a meeting with business people, George W. Bush said that “If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action.” [2] The New York Times [3] and The Washington Post [4] however, misrepresented Bush’s promise as a promise to fire only those administration officials who “knowingly” or “illegally” disclosed Plame’s identity.

In a press conference this Monday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan was asked if the president stood by his statements made in September 2003, in light of recent evidence that Karl Rove was involved in the leak. Scott McClellan declined to reaffirm this policy, citing an ongoing investigation.

Pressed to explain its statements of two years ago that Rove wasn’t involved in the leak, the White House refused to do so.

“If I were to get into discussing this, I would be getting into discussing an investigation that continues and could be prejudging the outcome of the investigation,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

The statements made by Scott McClellan two years ago were made during the investigation that continues and may have prejudiced the outcome of the investigation. When reporters asked McClellan to explain this inconsistency, McClellan gave the same response. When asked if the Administration was told not to discuss the investigation while it was ongoing after he claimed that Karl Rove was not involved in the leak, and not before, Scott McClellan gave the same response. [5]

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada added this amendment to the Bill:

“No federal employee who discloses or has disclosed classified information, including the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to a person not authorized to receive such information shall be entitled to hold a security clearance for access to such information.”

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, RTenn., amended the amendment:

“…or any federal officeholder who makes reference to a classified Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the floor of the United States Senate, or any federal officeholder that makes a statement based on a FBI agent¹s comments which is used as propaganda by terrorist organizations thereby putting our servicemen and women at risk, shall not be permitted access to such information or to hold a security clearance for access to such information.”

The first part of this amendment was in response to Joe Wilson’s correction of George W. Bush’s representation of his and his associates’ intelligence assessment regarding uranium in Niger. The second was in response to recent criticism of the treatment of prisoners in detention facilities operated by the United States, most notably at Guantanamo Bay by officials including Senator Richard Durbin.

The Republican-controlled Senate ultimately voted down both amendments on July 14th.

House Representative Rush Holt, D-N.J., has introduced legislation for an investigation that would compel senior administration officials to turn over records relating to the Plame disclosure.

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Wilson calls for Rove removal

Wilson calls for Rove removal – Wikinews, the free news source

Wilson calls for Rove removal

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Friday, July 15, 2005

U.S. Federal grand jury testimony by Karl Rove was reported in the press Friday detailing testimony by Karl Rove on the Plame “leak”. The information was obtained by Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because of grand jury hearing secrecy. The reported source was in the legal profession.

The press reports followed Thursday’s televised call by former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the husband of one-time CIA operative Valerie Plame, for President Bush to honor his word to remove any official involved in the Plame leak.

On Thursday’s NBC’s “Today” show, Wilson said it was time for the President to “stand up and prove to the American people that his word is his bond and fire Karl Rove.” and “this cover-up is becoming unraveled. That’s why you see the White House stonewalling.”

Amid refusals by President Bush or his White House press secretary Scott McClellan to comment on the on-going investigation into the Plame leak, the Bush overall approval rating, now at 45%, has slipped one point from May. The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found for the first time that 45% chose poor, versus 41% good, for rating the president as “honest and straightforward”. His disapproval rating, now 49%, is up 2 points.

American support for the war effort in Iraq remains strong, at 57 to 42% in favor. And the majority believe the war in Iraq is part of the broader goal of battling global terrorism by a margin of 61 to 34 %.

Given the favorable opinion ratings on the war, the current furor in the press and by partisan Democrats are questions about personal accountability, and not about U.S. war policy. Bush has so far demonstrated by his silence that he is willing to let the matter of Rove be settled by the court.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is in charge of the federal probe seeking what is believed to involve two officials at the White House. At issue concerning Rove is whether he broke the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The act makes it a felony crime for Rove to intentionally and knowingly leak the identity of Plame. At the time, Plame was a CIA Counter-proliferation Division employee.

Fitzgerald is not obliged to publicly reveal any information on testimony received during grand jury hearings on the matter, and has not commented. What is known is that Matt Cooper’s reporting notes sent by e-mail to his employer TIME magazine show that Rove identified Judith Plame as “Wilson’s wife”, and from the context of their conversation, Cooper’s notes report that she “apparently works” at the CIA. Whether he revealed that Plame was a covert agent remains to be found.

Mr. Wilson has from the start shown his willingness to comment on the actions of the Bush administration. From his July 2003 Op-Ed piece, which started this whole affair, he was critical of statements made by Bush during his State of the Union Address. Then in August 2003 after his wife’s covert cover was blown, came his angry statement to try and get Karl Rove “frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs”.

On Tuesday this week, during the heightened controversy from the Supreme Court ordered release by TIME of Cooper’s notes, Wilson said “that Rove was intimately involved in the smear campaign launched after the [Novak] article appeared,” according NBC News report. “Now to find out he talked to Matt Cooper before then only compounds the outrage at the abuse of power.” Wilson’s statements were made off camera.

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July 12, 2005

White House refuses to comment on Karl Rove as source of leak

White House refuses to comment on Karl Rove as source of leak

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Iraq War
Other Iraq War stories
Iraqi security forces
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Background
  • Wikipedia article about the Iraq War

In a televised report on CNN Tuesday morning, U.S. Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton expressed their belief that Karl Rove, a top advisor to President George W. Bush, should be fired. Kerry spoke from the podium and answered reporters’ questions, while Clinton nodded in the background. Kerry spoke clearly for the removal of Rove, and reporters who noted Clinton’s nods in agreement with Kerry queried her. She replied in support of Kerry’s comments, “I agree with that.”

The White House refused to comment Monday on Karl Rove’s involvement in the leak of the name of the covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. The New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, was jailed for violating a contempt of court order by refusing to testify about her source, and TIME magazine reporter Matthew Cooper also involved with withholding his source now appears ready to testify.

The leak of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name two years ago by a member of the executive branch was in response to her husband disputing the Administration’s allegations that Iraq was at the time attempting to buy so-called Yellowcake Uranium from countries in Africa. Her husband, a former ambassador under the first president Bush, Joseph Wilson has been proven correct in his assertions that Iraq was not attempting to gain or purchased uranium from Niger.

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan refused to comment on a series of questions which increased in intensity quickly during a July 11 White House Press Briefing. The inquiries were about whether the White House stood by an earlier comment that any official found to be involved would be fired, and also about when President Bush found out that Karl Rove, his deputy chief of staff, was involved.

During the most heated part of the exchange, David Gregory of NBC News called the refusal to comment “ridiculous.”

DAVID GREGORY: Scott, I mean, just — I mean, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us after having commented with that level of detail and tell people watching this that somehow you decided not to talk. You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium, or not?
MR. McCLELLAN: And again, David, I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said, and I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation —
DAVID GREGORY: Why are you choosing when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?
MR. McCLELLAN: If you’ll let me finish —
DAVID GREGORY: No, you’re not finishing — you’re not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke out about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation? Was he involved, or was he not? Because, contrary to what you told the American people, he did, indeed, talk about his wife, didn’t he?
MR. McCLELLAN: David, there will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

McClellan also refused to comment on whether or not President Bush had confidence in Rove as his deputy chief of staff.

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July 3, 2005

Karl Rove named as a source of Plame leak

Karl Rove named as a source of Plame leak

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Sunday, July 3, 2005

Karl Rove, president George W. Bush’s chief political advisor

A reporter’s notes subpoenaed by the U.S. District Court in Washington may show United States President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor Karl Rove as one of the two sources behind the leaking of the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, according to one or more anonymous sources cited by MSNBC.

However, Rove’s lawyer, Donald Luskin, acknowledged that although Rove had communicated with Cooper shortly before Plame’s identity was leaked, denied any wrongdoing on the part of his client, saying that “Rove absolutely did not identify Valerie Plame.”

The notes are those of TIME magazine White House correspondent Matthew Cooper. They were released by Norman Pearlstine, editor-in-chief of TIME Inc., by order of the court, in ruling that, in the case of leaking the identity of CIA agents, reporters must reveal the identity of their sources.

The court’s ruling was based on the clause in Constitutional law summarized popularly with the phrase “Crying fire in a crowded theater”: that when the degree to which the speech puts the safety of others at risk outweighs the degree to which it benefits others, so does their right to safety and security outweigh one’s right to free expression.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the reporters’ appeal of the case.

Background

Cquote1.svg 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 Cquote2.svg

—Joseph C. Wilson, retired diplomat

TIME magazine announced Thursday they would identify the White House leak from reporter Matthew Cooper’s notes. The decision by TIME came after a federal judge in Washington gave the magazine and The New York Times 48 hours to comply with a months long order to provide information on the sources of press leaks. Judith Miller of The New York Times, along with Cooper at TIME, face jail time for their refusal to name anonymous sources. The steadfast refusal by Cooper and Miller to personally identify their sources may lead to an 18 month jail sentence.

The case against Cooper stemmed from a July 6, 2003 Op-Ed piece published by the Times, where Joseph C. Wilson IV disputed the assertion made by President Bush in his State of the Union Address that Saddam Hussein tried to buy uranium from Niger.

A week later Valerie Plame, Wilson’s wife, was identified as a CIA operative in a news story written by Robert D. Novak, a conservative pundit. The news blew Plame’s cover, and the information was obtained by two anonymous White House sources. The leak to the press was thought by some to be retaliation for her husband’s Op-Ed story. Wilson blamed Rove for the leak, saying in an Aug. 21, 2003 public panel, “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.” [1]

Cooper wrote and had published stories about the issue at TIME. Miller did research, but did not write a story. The reporter Novak who broke the story, remained silent on the case until Wednesday, and said on CNN’s Inside Politics that, “They’re not going to jail because of me.”

Journalists usually protect their sources’ wishes of anonymity, in order to retain a vital channel of information from whistle-blowers and others with controversial information. The tension between the press and the U.S. Federal judiciary highlights what Rick Rodriquez, executive director of the American Association of Newspaper Editors, calls “the need to have a discussion around the federal shield law.” A “shield” statute could grant confidentiality between reporters and anonymous sources similarly to the right granted in attorney-client privilege.

The decision by his employer TIME to reveal a source may spare veteran reporter Cooper time behind bars. His employer is in possession of his notes and therefore has knowledge of the source. In the case of Miller, The New York Times claims it has no such reporting notes.

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Background sources

  • Valerie Plame at our sister project, Wikipedia
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June 17, 2005

Bush administration drastically cuts penalties sought for in tobacco trial from $130 billion to $10 billion

Bush administration drastically cuts penalties sought for in tobacco trial from $130 billion to $10 billion

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Tobacco field

Bush appointee Robert McCallum overrode Justice Department lawyers who had been handling the government’s tobacco racketeering trial for the past 5 years. McCallum ordered the lawyers to reduce the penalties sought at the close of the nine-month trial from $130 billion to $10 billion, angering some of the trial lawyers to the point where it is reported they threatened to quit their jobs.

“Everyone is asking, ‘Why now?’ ” said an anonymous Justice Department employee afraid of retaliation. “Why would you throw the case down the toilet at the very last hour, after five years?”

Congressional Democrats oppose the slashing of the penalties for the tobacco industry, and have asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales not to enter into a settlement based on “the unreasonably weak demands made by the government.”

The New York Times pointed out that McCallum was a Skull and Bones ‘brother’ of President Bush. Bush has appointed a number of Skull and Bones club members to government positions since he became President, including SEC head and former Philip Morris executive William Donaldson. Bush strategist Karl Rove was a Phillip Morris lobbyist before Bush asked him to work on his 2000 campaign for the presidency.

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December 29, 2004

Republicans Subpoenaed in Ohio Recount

Republicans Subpoenaed in Ohio Recount – Wikinews, the free news source

Republicans Subpoenaed in Ohio Recount

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Columbus, Ohio – Voters in Ohio, alleging evidence of voter fraud in the presidential election, subpoenaed several leading Republicans as part of a challenge of the election results. Ohio Republican Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, President George W. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and White House Political Advisor Karl Rove were subpoenaed for depositions December 28th and 29th in a challenge supported by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Blackwell has refused to appear, claiming in a court filing that he is not required to be interviewed since he is a high-ranking public official. The lawyer for the other three officials claims that his clients were not properly served the subpoenas.

The deposition was part of a lawsuit filed at the Ohio Supreme Court challenging the results of the U.S. presidential election in that state. A multi-party recount effort completed on December 28 showed a 300 vote difference between the initial and final tallies, but failed to answer questions about irregularities in the voting process such as shortages of voting machines in minority precincts, problems with electronic voting machines, and statistical improbabilities in reported vote tallies.

In his court filing, Blackwell further called those asking questions about the vote engaging in ‘frivolous conduct’ and making too many requests of election officials around the state. Republican Blackwell, as Secretary of State, assigns all members, directors and deputy directors of the precinct boards of elections that run the elections in the state. Challengers to the voting process have questioned whether these boards were adequately run as bipartisan operations, suggesting that since the boards owe Blackwell their jobs, this could have established a pattern of problems that favored Bush at Kerry’s expense.

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