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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

President refuses to answer questions about Rove this morning

I told you this was going to get good.

The White House is suddenly facing damaging evidence that it misled the public by insisting for two years that presidential adviser Karl Rove wasn't involved in leaking the identity of a female CIA officer.

President Bush, at an Oval Office photo opportunity Tuesday, was asked directly whether he would fire Rove -- in keeping with a pledge in June, 2004, to dismiss any leakers in the case. The president did not respond.

For the second day, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to answer questions about Rove.

Rove told Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper that the woman "apparently works" for the CIA and that she had authorized her husband's trip to Africa to assess allegations that Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium for nuclear weapons, according to a July 11, 2003, e-mail by Cooper obtained by Newsweek magazine.

The e-mail is now in the hands of federal prosecutors who are hunting down the leakers inside the Bush administration who revealed the name of Valerie Plame to the news media.

The revelation about Rove prompted Democratic calls for President Bush to follow through on his promise to fire leakers of Plame's identity, and triggered 61 questions during two press briefings Monday by McClellan.


The President promised to fire anyone in his administration involved in the Plame affair. Would you consider the President's backtracking on his word a "flip-flop" now? This administration clearly misled the American people because if this information would of came out during the campaign, Kerry and the democrats would of had a field day. Rove pushed this matter back till after the elections and now it's finally coming to haunt him and this administration. If this was a democratic administraion, Congress would be having hearings on this matter already.

Whether Rove named Plame by name to Matthew Cooper or said Wilson's wife is in the CIA doesn't make a difference (a.k.a. Clinton saying "it depends on what the definition of "is" is). The real question people (and reporters) should be asking is who told Rove that Plame was a CIA agent. An adviser (even someone like Rove) wouldn't have access to that type of sensitive information. Someone whould of had to tell Rove that Joe Wilson's wife was a CIA operative and whoever it was had national security clearance. The only reason the federal prosecutor is still allowed to presue this case must be becasue he is after the person who gave "outed" Plame, and I don't think it was Rove.

When it comes to who gave Rove the CIA information, it seems like Rove's lawyer isn't answering that question either.

One of the e-mails was a note from Cooper to his boss in which he said he had spoken to Rove, who described the wife of former U.S. Ambassador and Bush administration critic Joe Wilson as someone who "apparently works" at the CIA, Newsweek magazine reported.

It said "Wilson's wife" -- not CIA Director George Tenet or Vice President Dick Cheney -- authorized a trip by Wilson to Africa. The purpose was to check out reports that Iraq had tried to obtain yellowcake uranium for use in nuclear weapons.

Rove's conversation with Cooper took place five days after Plame's husband suggested in a New York Times op-ed piece that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq. Wilson's trip to Africa provided the basis for his criticism.

Robert Luskin, Rove's lawyer, said his client did not disclose Plame's name. Luskin declined to say how Rove found out that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and refused to say how Rove came across the information that it was Wilson's wife who authorized his trip to Africa.