All Eyes on Rove

ALL EYES ON ROVE….Time Inc. may have turned over Matt Cooper’s emails and notes to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the Valerie Plame case, but that doesn’t mean Cooper is out of the woods. Fitzgerald may still want Cooper to testify in person tomorrow, and if Cooper refuses to divulge his sources he might be facing jail time regardless of whether the Time Inc. suits have obeyed the court order.

But riddle me this: As we all know, Scooter Libby released Cooper and other journalists from their promises of confidentiality. Go ahead and testify about our conversations, he said. Has Karl Rove done the same thing?

Rove’s lawyer has been parsing the English language pretty carefully in his statements to the press. Rove “never knowingly disclosed classified information,” he told Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff, with a careful stress on knowingly. He followed this by telling him that Rove “did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA,” a delicate statement that doesn’t rule out the possibility that he mentioned “Joe Wilson’s wife” to a reporter or six.

None of this would be necessary, and Cooper and Judith Miller would likely be in the clear, if Rove would release them from their promise of confidentiality. After all, he’s already admitted that he talked to reporters. Why not publicly and privately tell them that he has nothing to fear and they should feel free to testify?

UPDATE: Via email, Bob Somerby points out that Rove’s lawyer told Michael Isikoff that Rove “signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.” I missed that. If anything, though, it makes the whole situation even weirder. Is “waiver” Isikoff’s word or Rove’s? Was it a blanket statement or did he specifically tell Cooper and Miller it was OK to testify? And does this mean that Cooper and Miller are being asked to testify about something other than a conversation with Rove?

Beats me. I’m not sure what to make of this.

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