White House Rules Out Three Aides in Leak on CIA
Tue October 7, 2003 11:11 AM ET
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Tuesday ruled out three
top aides as the source of a news leak identifying an undercover CIA
officer whose husband was critical of Bush administration Iraq policy.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he had talked to each of
the aides ahead of a 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday for officials to turn
over information in a Justice Department probe of the leak.
He left open the possibility the leaker would never be found. "I
think all of us in this room know that it sometimes can be difficult
to determine anonymous sources. But let me emphasize ... no one wants
to get to the bottom of it more than the president of the United
States," he said.
McClellan said senior Bush political aide Karl Rove, vice
presidential chief of staff Lewis Libby and National Security Council
senior director Elliott Abrams, had each denied being the source of
the leak, which identified CIA operative Valerie Plame. McClellan said
he talked to the officials in response to news reports he called
"I've spoken with each of them individually," he said. "They were
not involved in leaking classified information, nor did they condone
Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, has accused the
administration of leaking Plame's name in retaliation for his
criticisms of Bush administration claims that Iraq had tried to
acquire African uranium.
The claims, which had been investigated by Wilson in a mission for
the CIA, were part of Bush's case for war against Iraq but were later
acknowledged by the White House to be based on unsubstantiated
Tuesday's deadline is a self-imposed one for the White House, and
comes in response to a Justice Department order to hand over any
information such as e-mails and phone logs relating to the case.
McClellan said responses would be collected by the White House
counsel's office before being handed over to the Justice Department.
He declined to discuss the extent to which they would be reviewed by
the counsel's office.
The White House was unlikely to give the investigators any material
on Tuesday, he said. He said the Justice Department had set a variety
of deadlines over the next two weeks.
LEAK - GATE:
This White House Scandal Finally Tips the Scale!
Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (50 U.S.C. 421
(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government
Mr. Novak, the resolution of this crisis is in your hands. Think
about your country, not your career. Give up the leaker, and retire,
ending your journalism career with the same honor you brought to your
profession, before you made this terrible misstep.
James C. Moore Asks Robert Novak to Spill the Beans on Karl Rove
A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
by James C. Moore, Co-author of
"Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W.Bush Presidential"
Mr. Robert Novak
Dear Mr. Novak,
In your numerous interviews last week, you were quoted as saying,
"If I gave up my sources, I would get out of journalism." I would like
to suggest to you that it is time you do both. Kindly inform the CIA
or the FBI who tipped you on the identity of Ambassador Joseph
Wilson's wife, and then leave journalism in steadier, less mercenary
There is a higher ethic than source protection, Mr. Novak. You
ought to be more concerned about the security of your country, and the
safety of millions of your fellow citizens. As a result of your
gratuitous insertion of Valerie Plame's name into your column, you
have exposed her family, and our nation to unnecessary risk. I assume,
as an experienced columnist, you gave some consideration to the
potential harm you might have caused by using Ms. Plame's identity,
which makes your actions all the more confounding.
During Ms. Plame's service to our country, she was placing herself
in danger to apparently deal with people who might help us avoid being
harmed by weapons of mass destruction. Undoubtedly, there are dozens
of other operatives whose lives have also been endangered by this
publicity. Since you are someone who has written about the challenge
of WMDs and our national security, I find it disturbing that you chose
to forsake your own patriotism in order to serve the political
purposes of the White House. As a minimum, you have caused fear to
enter the Plame-Wilson household every time a door bell or phone
rings, and for this alone, you ought to feel shame.
During an interview on MSNBC's "Buchanan and Press" last week, I
described you as a "hod carrier" for Karl Rove. In this particular
instance, I prefer to be proved wrong. And there is one simple method
for doing that. Speak to federal investigators, provide them the name
of the individual, within or without of the White House, who gave you
Ms. Plame's identity, and help those investigators to protect our
country. The release of this information is of far greater importance
than your journalist's obligation to protect sources. We are a nation
at war, and our safety has been compromised by this leak. By naming
your source, the FBI can easily determine how wide a treasonous web
has been cast, and find anyone who offered assistance to facilitate
My own suspicions about Mr. Rove being the source of your
information date back to the Bush/Quayle Presidential Campaign in
1992. As a Texas journalist, I had heard Mr. Rove's constant
complaining about the state of the campaign in Texas. He was a
consultant to Bush/Quayle, and was reporting to Rob Mosbacher, Jr.
When you wrote a column about the campaign being in disarray, and
poorly managed, those of us in the Texas press corps immediately
suspected Mr. Rove as the source of your information While you have
denied that is the case, your column sounded very much like the kind
of carping Texas political reporters had been hearing from Mr. Rove
for many weeks. Of course, we were not the only people who were
suspicious. President George H. W. Bush, who cannot abide disloyalty,
chose to fire Mr. Rove for the indiscretion.
Journalists in Texas are, not surprisingly, convinced that Mr. Rove
gave you Ms. Plame's identity. We know how he works. Reporters in
high-profile positions in Texas were constantly leaked information by
Mr. Rove, and it always served his political or professional goals. In
some cases, Mr. Rove used spurious rumor in attempts to try to destroy
business competition, and even the reputations of former friends who
had somehow aggrieved him. In Washington, Mr. Rove's motivations for
such a leak were clear. The White House had kept a lid on data from
the intelligence community, which contradicted the Bush
administration's arguments for war with Iraq. Ambassador Wilson's
refusal to countenance a lie likely prompted Mr. Rove and the White
House to "out" his wife, and send a message to any intelligence
officer who thought about going public with research that might
undermine the Bush agenda for war.
And now, Mr. Novak, the resolution of this crisis is in your hands.
Think about your country, not your career. Give up the leaker, and
retire, ending your journalism career with the same honor you brought
to your profession, before you made this terrible misstep.
James C. Moore
Co-author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush
A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
James C. Moore is a frequent contributor to BuzzFlash.com.
SEE: [ LEAK-GATE ]
THE FOUR REASONS NEWS: