Cooper Spills the Beans

Raw Story has excerpts of Time reporter Matt Cooper’s article about his testimony before the grand jury. If this confessional doesn’t suggest that the White House ought not concern itself with not answering questions about an ongoing investigation, I can’t imagine what would:
"As for Wilson's wife, I told the grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that, indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't recall which. Rove did, however, clearly indicate that she worked at the "agency"--by that, I told the grand jury, I inferred that he obviously meant the CIA and not, say, the Environmental Protection Agency. Rove added that she worked on "WMD" (the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction) issues and that she was responsible for sending Wilson. This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife.

Perhaps most notable, is one line Cooper recalls that he said 'has been in my memory for two years.'

"I have a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, 'I've already said too much,'" he wrote. "This could have meant he was worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else. I don't know, but that sign-off has been in my memory for two years."

This was actually my second testimony for the special prosecutor. In August 2004, I gave limited testimony about my conversations with Scooter Libby. Libby had also given me a specific waiver, and I gave a deposition in the office of my attorney. I have never discussed that conversation until now. In that testimony, I recounted an on-the-record conversation with Libby that moved to background. On the record, he denied that Cheney knew about or played any role in the Wilson trip to Niger. On background, I asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replied, "Yeah, I've heard that too," or words to that effect. Like Rove, Libby never used Valerie Plame's name.

Where's the case going?

"Did Fitzgerald's questions give me a sense of where the investigation is heading? Perhaps," he pens. "Maybe Fitzgerald is interested in whether Rove knew her CIA ties through a person or through a document."

And he sums up.

"So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert?" he scores. "No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the "agency" on "WMD"? Yes. When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me. At this point, I'm as curious as anyone else to see what Patrick Fitzgerald has."
The Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement, a sign-off on which is required by people who receive national security clearance, stipulates, as one would expect, that signers are not to disclose classified information. (Indeed, it even makes clear they are not to disseminate classified information which has been revealed in a public source without first confirming that the information has been declassified.) If Rove, as Cooper says, told him that the information he was giving him would soon be declassified, isn’t that an overt acknowledgement by Rove that the information he was giving Cooper was classified at the time he gave it to him? I can’t begin to imagine how this can be construed any other way. Ditto Libby, who, in saying “Yeah, I’ve heard that, too,” or words to that effect, who ignored his obligation as laid out in the CINA to first confirm the information had been declassifed before addressing it.

(On a side note, does anyone else find it strange that the “Yeah, I’ve heard that, too” response seems to be a repeated refrain? Do these reporters not suspect that this was a coordinated effort by their sources in the administration to tacitly confirm information while leaving themselves a defense that they “heard it” from the very reporters who were pawns in their game? Unbelievable.)

Cooper also appeared on Meet the Press, where he reiterated that Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, “Scooter” Libby, was one of his sources on Plame, too. Libby, of course, was one of the three possible sources of the leak that were identified as “ridiculous” by Scott McClellan, the other two being Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams. That’s two strikes for Scotty. It’s no wonder he’s stopped swinging.

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