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Report Shows Karl Rove May Have Lied to Federal Agents, a Federal Crime, During Oct 2003 Testimony Into CIA Agent Leak

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Looks like Karl Rove did break the law, the same federal law that got Martha Stewart sentenced to six months in prison.

It now appears that Rove, President Bush 's chief of staff, may have lied to the FBI in October 2003 --a federal crime --when he was questioned by federal agents investigating who was responsible for leaking information about a covert CIA operative to the media.

During questioning by the FBI about his role in the Plame affair, Rove told federal agents that he only started sharing information about Plame with reporters and White House officials for the first time after conservative columnist Robert Novak identified her covert CIA status in his column on July 14, 2003, according to a report in the American Prospect about Rove 's testimony in March 2004, a copy of which can be found at http://www.prospect.org/print-friendly/webfeatures/2004/03/waas-m-03-08.html

But Rove wasn 't truthful with the FBI what with the recent disclosure of Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper 's emails, which reveal Rove as the source for Cooper 's own July 2003 story identifying Plame as a CIA operative, and show that Rove spoke to Cooper nearly a week before Novak 's column was published and, according to previously published news reports, spoke to a half-dozen other reporters about Plame as early as June 2003.

"Iit was, KR said, wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized (Wilson 's) trip," Cooper 's July 11, 2003, email to his editor, obtained by Newsweek, says. "Wilson's wife is Plame, then an undercover agent working as an analyst in the CIA's Directorate of Operations counterproliferation division. (Cooper later included the essence of what Rove told him in an online story.) The e-mail characterizing the conversation continues: "not only the genesis of the trip is flawed an[d] suspect but so is the report. he [Rove] implied strongly there's still plenty to implicate iraqi interest in acquiring uranium fro[m] Niger .. "

Moreover, evidence suggests that President Bush was aware as early as October 2003 that Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter " Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney 's chief of staff, were the sources who leaked Plame 's undercover CIA status to reporters and after the president was briefed about the issue the president said publicly that the source of the leak will never be found.

Furthermore, a few aides to Condoleeza Rice, then head of the National Security Council, may have played a role as well by being the first officials to learn about Plame 's role as a CIA operative and gave that information to Rove, Libby and other senior administration officials.

The disclosure of Plame 's name and CIA status was an attempt by the White House to discredit Plame 's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war who had alleged that President Bush misspoke when he said in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq acquired yellow-cake uranium from Niger.

Wilson was recommended by Plame, his wife, to travel to Niger to investigate the yellow-cake claims but he said publicly that he Cheney 's office sent him there. Cheney did in fact contact the CIA at first to arrange the mission but Plame ultimately recommended Wilson. Still, in February 2002, he went to Niger and reported back to the CIA that there was no truth to those claims.

Here 's the fullest account yet of how the events leading up to the disclosure that Wilson 's wife was a CIA operative unfolded, and how it all leads back to Rove. But first let 's get to the real story behind the leak, the catalyst behind this issue.

Bush and senior administration officials mislead Congress and the public into supporting a war predicated on the fact that Iraq was concealing weapons of mass destruction that threatened its neighbors in the Middle East and posed a grave threat to the United States.

In his State of the Union address in January 2003, two months prior to the Iraq war, Bush said Iraq tried to buy yellow-cake uranium, the key component in designing a nuclear bomb, from Niger, which was the silver bullet in getting Congress to support military action two months later. To date, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq and the country barely had a weapons program, according to a report from the Iraq Survey Group.

Like other officials, including former Treasury Secretary Paul O 'Neill and counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke, both of whom provided evidence that Bush and senior members of his administration of being obsessed with attacking Iraq shortly after 9/11 and manipulating intelligence reports as a way to get Congress and the public to back the war, the White House launched a full-scale attack against Wilson beginning in June 2003, when Wilson was quoted anonymously in various news reports as saying that the 16 words in Bush State of the Union address alleging that Iraq bought yellow-cake uranium from Niger was totally untrue.

On July 14, 2003, Novak first disclosed Plame by name in his column as well as her undercover CIA status, citing two "senior administration officials. " Novak said Wilson wasn 't trustworthy because his wife recommended him for the trip to Niger.

According to a preliminary FBI investigation, White House officials, including Rove and Libby, first learned of Plame 's name and CIA status in June 2003 when questions surrounding Wilson 's Niger trip were first brought to the attention of Cheney 's aides by reporters, according to an Oct 13, 2003 report in the Washington Post.

"One reason investigators are looking back (to June 2003) is that even before Novak's column appeared, government officials had been trying for more than a month to convince journalists that Wilson's mission wasn't as important as it was being portrayed, " the Post reported.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 

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