Friday, July 15, 2005

I Just Said It's Totally Ridiculous

A bit more on the Plame-Rove leak scandal:

***July 14, 2003: Syndicated columnist Bob Novak mentions Plame by name in a column about her husband Joe Wilson (who'd published criticisms of Bush's treatment of evidence during the build-up to the Iraq war [see "Yellowcake, Yellowcake" below]). This blows her cover as a CIA operative.

*** Late July 2003: The CIA refers a complaint to the Justice Department, requesting an investigation of the leak.

*** Early Sept. 2003: Anonymous source leaks fact of CIA referral to news media.

*** Sept. 16, 2003: Bush spokesman Scott McClellan has this exchange with a reporter during a press conference:
Q. [Plame's husband Joe Wilson is] quoted from a speech last month as saying, "At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove marched out of the White House in handcuffs." Did Karl Rove tell …
A. I haven't heard that. That's just totally ridiculous. But we've already addressed this issue.
Q.
But did Karl Rove …
A.
If I could find out who anonymous people were - I just said it's totally ridiculous.
Q.
But did Karl Rove do it?'
A.
I said it's totally ridiculous.
*** Late Sept. 2003: DOJ officially begins investigation of CIA referral.

*** Late Dec. 2003: Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself from the investigation.

*** Jan. 2004: Grand Jury investigation led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald begins.

*** July 12, 2005: McClellan tells a different reporter something different:
Q. “Did Karl Rove commit a crime?”
A.
“This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation."

Um, wtf? Obviously, by Sept. 16, 2003, McClellan knew the CIA had referred the case to DOJ and that it would be investigated. That's why the reporter was asking him about Wilson and Rove in the first place. Why is it okay for the White House to comment on something during the early stages of an investigation when nobody knows the facts yet but improper to comment on it later, when the evidence is much clearer?

Well, okay, we all know why. But I'd like to hear McClellan admit it.

3 Comments:

At 11:40 AM , Blogger Jon E. said...

A FOOTNOTE ABOUT PLAME'S STATUS:

Lately, people are saying Plame wasn't really an undercover operative. That doesn't make sense to me. Why would she have had a cover as an energy analyst for a CIA front company called Brewster, Jennings, and Associates if she were just a desk analyst? Why would the DOJ and then a special prosecutor investigate the case if she hadn't been a covert operative? And, most important, why would the CIA have bothered referring the case to the Dept. of Justice if she hadn't been undercover? Wouldn't the CIA be in the best position to determine her status?

Her undercover status seemed obvious enough when DOJ investigation began that the right-leaning Washington Times (in an article entitled "Wilson, Wife Have Ties to Democrats" no less) said, "The 40-year-old Mrs. Wilson is a member of the CIA's clandestine service. As such, the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act makes it a federal crime for a government official to reveal her identity publicly."

 
At 2:24 PM , Blogger Mike M. said...

Well, see, nobody told him it was an investigation into his side! Heck, Miller was one of the reporters. Scottie probably thought Chalabi was her source.

 
At 7:42 PM , Anonymous dbt said...

The difference is right there in your timeline. Before December 2003, it was an "investigation." Then the AG recused himself and appointed Fitzgerald knight errant. Then it became an Investigation.

 

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