The NY Times reports today that Karl Rove spoke with Robert Novak as he was preparing his column outing Valerie Plame as a CIA operative, but that he claims he merely confirmed Novak’s information. Novak had credited two unidentified White House officials as the source for his story.
Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.
After hearing Mr. Novak’s account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: “I heard that, too.”
Of course, the White House had previously said that it was “ridiculous” to suggest that Rove had leaked information on Plame, and now it has apparently been confirmed that he was a source for both Novak and Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper. Whether Rove’s testimony contradicts that of others (or other evidence,) remains to be seen.
But again, regardless of whether Rove was the primary source, or technically violated any laws, there is little question that he played a part in blowing the cover of both a CIA operative and a front corporation, as part of a campaign to discredit and punish Plame’s husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson. This is not the sort of behavior that should be acceptable from a top White House official.
Americablog points out that Novak’s previous public statements contradict Rove’s reported testimony:
Novak, in an interview, said his sources had come to him with the information. “I didn’t dig it out, it was given to me,” he said. “They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it.”
So somebody’s lying.