Some pretty convincing evidence in today's Time that Rove, Libby and others did not learn of Valerie Plame through a journalist, but through combing information about Wilson's trip after a Walter Pinkus article that damaged the White House's credibility about what they knew before the State of the Union.
As the investigation tightens into the leak of the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame, sources tell TIME some White House officials may have learned she was married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson weeks before his July 6, 2003, Op-Ed piece criticizing the Administration. That prospect increases the chances that White House official Karl Rove and others learned about Plame from within the Administration rather than from media contacts. Rove has told investigators he believes he learned of her directly or indirectly from reporters, according to his lawyer.
The previously undisclosed fact gathering began in the first week of June 2003 at the CIA, when its public-affairs office received an inquiry about Wilson's trip to Africa from veteran Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus. That office then contacted Plame's unit, which had sent Wilson to Niger, but stopped short of drafting an internal report. The same week, Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman asked for and received a memo on the Wilson trip from Carl Ford, head of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Sources familiar with the memo, which disclosed Plame's relationship to Wilson, say Secretary of State Colin Powell read it in mid-June.
That would be the same State Dept. memo that we've talked about before. The one that mentions pretty specifically that Plame was "top secret" and that her name was not to be divulged to anyone without a need to know.
If this line is true, then whoever was the original source of the leak is in some big trouble, and if Karl Rove or Libby had seen that memo, they both knowingly divulged a covert agent's identity, putting them in the hot seat, as well as the possible perjury for lying about where they learned of Plame.
I have to ask: was all this worth it? I mean, lying to a grand jury, revealing a CIA agent's identity, breaking the law, ruining an semblance of national security priorities? Just to get the major threat that was Joe Wilson. The NSC had to get on him because he wrote an OpEd in the NY Times? And all he said was what everyone already knew by then. And he said it when it really didn't matter, after we had already invaded Iraq, months after the State of the Union.
This is just like the Watergate break-in. Nixon just had to know what was going on with the Democrats, even though he was a sure thing for a second term. These people worship Nixon and Agnew, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised. It's one of those pathological things, they just cannot help themselves with the lying and the dirty tricks.
Also, this looks like it was way more widespread than just Karl Rove and Scooter Libby being assholes and talking smack about a guy's wife. It is starting to look like the whole West Wing was involved in the smear, and maybe even the cover-up.
Thanks to Think Progress for all the goods.