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Monday, July 25, 2005

RoveGate: The gift that keeps on giving

Just how deep is this rabbit hole?

Just when you think things can't get any uglier for the Bush administration, we find out that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales (then White House Counsel) informed Andrew Card about the investigation launched by the justice department into who leaked CIA agent Valerie Wilson (Plame) at 8 p.m. and waited 12 hours before he notifying the rest of the White House staff.

Twelve hours and in the middle of the night? To me, that seems like alot of time to shread documents or get rid of evidence...

From the Washington Post:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said yesterday that he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. immediately after learning that the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. But Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, waited 12 hours before officially notifying the rest of the staff of the inquiry.


In the New York Times yesterday, columnist Frank Rich cited news reports from 2003 that when Gonzales was notified about the investigation on the evening of Monday, Sept. 29, 2003, he waited 12 hours before telling the White House staff about the inquiry. Official notification to staff is meant to quickly alert anyone who may have pertinent records to make sure they are preserved and safeguarded.

Asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" about the column, Gonzales said the Justice Department had informed his office around 8 p.m. and that White House lawyers said he could wait until the next morning before notifying the staff. He did not say why he called Card.

"I specifically had our lawyers go back to the Department of Justice lawyers and ask them, 'Do you want us to notify the staff now, immediately, or would it be okay to notify the staff early in the morning?' And we were advised, go ahead and notify the staff early in the morning, that would be okay." He said most of the staff had left by the time the Justice Department called and that "no one knew about the investigation."

But he acknowledged telling one person: "the chief of staff. And immediately the next morning, I told the president. And shortly thereafter, there was notification sent out to all the members of the White House staff," Gonzales said.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), appearing on the same program, questioned why Gonzales would not have notified the staff immediately by e-mail and suggested that Fitzgerald pursue whether Card may have given anyone in the White House advance notice of the criminal investigation.

"The real question now is, who did the chief of staff speak to? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call Karl Rove? Did the chief of staff pick up the phone and call anybody else?" Biden asked.

I guess it's going to be yet another long day for Scott McClellan at the White House gaggle. Seems like someone in the White House has alot of explaining to do.