Plame Gossip - Novak lied to protect Rove?
On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men. ....
A second reason that federal investigators were suspicious, sources said, is that they believed that after the September 29 call, Novak shifted his account of his July 9, 2003, conversation with Rove to show that administration officials had a passive role in leaking Plame's identity.
So, a couple of questions. Did Novak reconsider this "assurance" to Rove and cooperate with Fitzgerald? That's been the general consensus, and it would spell real trouble for Rove if this story's characterization is true, Novak as the co-conspirator in Obstruction, flipping and giving up Rove. (Another possibility from Emptywheel is that this might be new Rove supplied info, possibly coming out of a new spirit of full cooperation(Read plea deal.))
Also, why now? After all the reporters working the Rove investigation for six months, why does this story break now, possibly right on the eve of a Rove indictment? Is this Novak's camp trying to frame him as wanting to help Rove but being forced to give him up? An effort to keep Novak's Republican street cred? An effort to get pro-Novak spin out in front of an indictment?
Because if this story is right, it sounds like the name Novak will be appearing prominently in the supporting evidence of any indictment of Karl Rove.
Or, if this came from the Rove camp, then, what? What would Rove gain by making this public right now? Taking Novak down with him(because he talked with Fitzgerald?) I have a problem with this coming out of possible Rove plea deal, because if he is cooperating, he'd probably be told to keep his mouth shut in public. So, certainly it could've come from Rove's talkative camp, but what would they gain?
(I still can't get my head around this one and what it means in the bigger picture. Lots of questions. I think where this came from is very important.) (In case you hadn't noticed, I'm starting to get the Rove itch again.)
(Novak was unavailable for comment.)
SHUSTER: Meanwhile, in the investigation of Karl Rove, sources close to the presidential advisor are now confirming a story first reported in the national journal that Rove, who was a source for columnist Bob Novak, later had a separate conversation with Novak after the investigation began.
So just off the top of my head, since team Rove was ready to confirm and respond and Novak wasn't, let me speculate that Rove's camp leaked the story so they could get out in front of Fitzgerald's portrayal and say "Karl Rove has never urged anyone, directly or indirectly, to withhold information from the special Counsel or to testify falsely."
(As I really just can't seem to figure out the strategy/political significance of this story, I'm guessing that there's some element in motion that we're not seeing. Somebody wanted it out there RIGHT NOW. If we figure out why, we may learn something big about what's going on under the water.)
UPDATE 2: Let me try this as a working theory. Camp Rove released this because it makes Novak look bad and undermines his credibility in the public arena. If Novak is going to play a key role in the indictment, what is a more classic Rovian strategy than going after the credibility of the critic rather than rebutting the criticism. I mean, after all, that's the whole basis of the Plame outing, and it is a repeated pattern from Rove for, what, 20 years.
So, let's try that on and see if that fits.