The mainstream media gets it. They get this story. They get why it's important. And now, they want it - bad. And when you get four top news services [WaPo, NYT, Bloomberg, WSJ] (and probably more) all fighting tooth and nail to scoop each other on a major story, that's serious trouble for the guys on the receiving end of that story.Perjury?
To wit: Richard Keil of
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, one person said. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of Plame's identity, the person said.(Via Think Progress via Aravosis.)
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according a person familiar with the matter. Novak, who was first to report Plame's name and connection to Wilson, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor, the person said.
These discrepancies may be important because Fitzgerald is investigating whether Libby, Rove or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation....
There also is a discrepancy between accounts given by Rove and Time magazine reporter Mat[t] Cooper. The White House aide mentioned Wilson's wife—though not by name—in a July 11, 2003, conversation with Cooper, the reporter said. Rove, 55, says that Cooper called him to talk about welfare reform and the Wilson connection was mentioned later, in passing.
Cooper wrote in Time magazine last week that he told the grand jury he never discussed welfare reform with Rove in that call.
What's especially interesting is what the NYT is reporting today in a wide-ranging article. Seems Rove and Libby were (shock!) working together on responses to criticism over those notorious 16 words in the State of the Union and to Joseph Wilson's NYT OpEd piece:
The effort was particularly striking because to an unusual degree, the circle of administration officials involved included those from the White House's political and national security operations, which are often separately run.On this note, Josh Marshall singles out the following paragraph about Rove and Scooter's collaboration on Tenet's statement about the 16 words:
They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president's political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet.It's worth noting that Hadley worked for Rice, who may have been the first to push the administration's anti-Wilson propaganda.
The same article has it that both Rove and former Satanic Majesty Ari Fleischer, told the grand jury that they never saw that (top?) secret memo. But it's already been reported that Ari did.
Last but not least, the article indicates that Karen Hughes and John Bolton may (repeat may) also be in trouble.
Read the whole thing here.
(Also via Aravosis. Go read him; he's wired.)