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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Plame Gossip - Novak lied to protect Rove?

Ho-ly Crap. (Check the updates at the bottom for my current working theory on why this information came out and why now.)
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.)

UPDATE: Hardball:

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.

Former federal prosecutors are convinced Fitzgerald has explored whether Rove and Novak coordinated their testimony.

(Novak was unavailable for comment.)

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.


  • Your speculations about Novak wouldn't surprise me in the least. I sense that Novakula is really a wimpy, squemish hanger-on-er who no one really likes, but who they tolerate. I think he would have kissed Rove's butt up and down like a lapdog, but then thrown him under the bus at a moments notice to save his own butt. There's really few other explanations for Novak being "untouched" by Fitz.

    I Novak's career is virtually over.

    Thank god.

    And let's hope this Friday is the one for you know who.

    By Blogger GreyHair, at 4:22 PM  

  • I can't imagine we'll get any resolution tomorrow in the case. Not only is it before a holiday weekend when three-quarters of the movers and shakers in Washington are already out of town, but the Waas report makes it sound like Fitz has expanded his investigation of Rove a bit, meaning it may take a little more time before any announcement on Rove's status.

    I wish that weren't the case, however. I know I just want to get some announcement on this. But hell, if it means Fitz is building a really solid case against Rove, I think the wait is well worth it.

    Greyhair, that was a great characterization of Novak, btw. I bet you're right that most on the right hate him but tolerate him (because he's useful.) It will be nice to see this fucker exposed eventually as a liar, a cheat, and a rat.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 5:33 PM  

  • I suspected from the beginning that Traitors Novak and Turdblossom were working this together. Nice to know the FBI thought so too!

    So will Fitzgerald charge Novak with anything—lying, obstruction?

    By Blogger Leslie, at 6:02 PM  

  • I'll try to address all three of these in one.

    First, I don't know about Novak. The general speculation among the Plame watchers is that he has been cooperating with Fitzgerald since early on. There is a possibility that he is indeed a target of some kind and that's why he hasn't come up, but I think it's the former. Also, there was a mention that Novak has testified since the Libby indictment.

    Novak's career was pretty much over when he lost it on HIS CNN talkshow, Crossfire. Remember, he lost it, cussed, and stormed off in the middle of a segment.

    Reality based, I have kept the holiday weekend in mind, so it wouldn't surprise me if this pushed on. I'm going to watch Bush tomorrow. If he's working on a Friday before a holiday, that says that they at least suspect something might go down. And, I do agree that the delays do not indicate any weakening, just development. If he was going to let Rove go, he would've done so by now. It's been four weeks since the last gj appearance.

    It seems to me that this might mean some development, either to include others or in definition of the charges. I don't know. Again, I remember this from tracking Libby, for several weeks it was a question of "will it be today? no." Until an almost forced indictment on the last day of that grand jury.

    My comment about the Rove itch was really more a feeling that the story is moving again. We may not see it, but I just have this feeling that with all these revelations, there's alot going on.

    And, Leslie, that depends. I've always thought Novak was a cooperating witness with no significant charges over him, but if this story is true and he attempted to Obstruct, it would make alot more sense why he is cooperating. This would present Fitzgerald with the opportunity to charge Novak, assuming he has supporting evidence or a witness, but if I'm guessing, Novak told all and will not be charged. It's possible, though. It does appear he may have committed crimes. So I'm kind of reevaluating today.


    By Blogger mikevotes, at 6:24 PM  

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