The Rove Factor?
Time magazine talked to Bush's guru for Plame story.
Andy Manis / AP By Michael IsikoffNewsweek
July 11 issue - Its legal appeals exhausted, Time magazine agreed last week to turn over reporter Matthew Cooper's e-mails and computer notes to a special prosecutor investigating the leak of an undercover CIA agent's identity. The case has been the subject of press controversy for two years. Saying "we are not above the law," Time Inc. Editor in Chief Norman Pearlstine decided to comply with a grand-jury subpoena to turn over documents related to the leak. But Cooper (and a New York Times reporter, Judith Miller) is still refusing to testify and faces jail this week.
At issue is the story of a CIA-sponsored trip taken by former ambassador (and White House critic) Joseph Wilson to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium from the African country of Niger. "Some government officials have noted to Time in interviews... that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction," said Cooper's July 2003 Time online article.
Now the story may be about to take another turn. The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House. Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with NEWSWEEK, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove.
According to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, leaking the name of an undercover agent is also a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, under certain circumstances. When TV commentator Chris Matthews asked Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie if he thought such a leak made by government officials was 'worse than Watergate,' Gillespie replied, 'Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real-world implications of it.'"
Vanity Fair, January 2004 via DailyKos