Cooper Says He First Learned Of Plame's Identity From Rove
WASHINGTON – Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper said he first learned about the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency officer through presidential adviser Karl Rove.
In a first-person account of his grand jury testimony last week in the latest issue of Time, Mr. Cooper said Mr. Rove ended a telephone conversation with the words, "I've already said too much." Mr. Cooper speculated that Mr. Rove could have been worried about being indiscreet or "it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else."
As for Valerie Plame's identity, he said "I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which. Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the 'agency' -- by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency."
Mr. Cooper added, "So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes. When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me. At this point, I'm as curious as anyone else to see what Patrick Fitzgerald [the special counsel] has."
This clearly contradicts the White House claims from late last week that Rove might have confirmed information from reporters but was not the source. Just like Matt Cooper, I really don't know if this is sufficient for a conviction, or whether Fitzgerald is planning any action against Rove. This does raise the question of whether the probably untrue White House statements from last week are similar to what Rove told Fitzgerald under oath, or if Rove gave any other dishonest testimony. Even if Rove technically did not violate the law in the manner in which he revealed information on Plame, lying about this to a grand jury would be perjury.
Regardless of the criminal aspects, this case clearly shows how political foreign policy has become under the Bush Administration, and the lack of ethics of the Bush Administration. The underlying problem goes far beyond Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to the White House's misuse of intelligence and the degree they are willing to go to retaliate against those who criticize their policies.
A copy of Mat Cooper's article in Time has been added to the Kerry Reference Library.