Cooper Makes The Rove/Plame Waters Murkier

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From the Meet The Press transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: This is the cover of your magazine: “Rove on the Spot,” subtitled “What I Told the Grand Jury,” by Matthew Cooper. And here is an excerpt from your article, which will be available tomorrow in Time magazine.

“So did [Karl] Rove leak Plame’s name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that [Joe] Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him?”–to Niger. “Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the `agency’ on `WMD’?”–weapons of mass destruction. “Yes. When he said things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I don’t know.”

For the record, the first time you learned that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA was from Karl Rove?

MR. COOPER: That’s correct.

MR. RUSSERT: And when Karl concluded his conversation with you, you write he said, “I’ve already said too much.” What did that mean?

MR. COOPER: Well, I’m not sure what it meant, Tim. At first, you know, I thought maybe he meant “I’ve been indiscreet.” But then, as I thought about it, I thought it might be just more benign, like “I’ve said too much; I’ve got to get to a meeting.” I don’t know exactly what he meant, but I do know that memory of that line has stayed in my head for two years.

Well, that’s as clear as mud, Tim. Now we’re divining the meaning of “I’ve already said too much”? Whoa.

However, Russert points out an interesting fact to Ken Mehlman, who then proceeds to question if the Dems have faith in the Pat Fitzgerald, the prosecutor overseeing this case. Huh?

MR. RUSSERT: One more point. I’ll bring in Mr. Podesta. When one is given classified clearance, they are asked to sign an oath, and they are given a briefing book with form–Standard Form 312, it’s called. And if you read this briefing book, it says this: “Before…confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of”–“SF 312 must confirm through an authorized official that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not…confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure.”

So by confirming a story from Robert Novak or sharing information with Matt Cooper, no matter where it came from, if, in fact, it was classified information, without seeking to determine whether it was declassified, it is an unauthorized disclosure.

MR. MEHLMAN: Well, you’re making an assumption that it’s classified information. In fact, what the story on Friday, you pointed out, shows, and what earlier stories have shown is that this information at least came to Mr. Rove from journalists, not from a classified source. But, again, here we are speculating. We should have confidence. I have tremendous confidence in Pat Fitzgerald. He’s a career prosecutor. He’s a tough prosecutor. That’s why he was put in charge of this case, because people want to get to the bottom of it. And that’s why it is so outrageous that these partisan smears would occur this past week. The question is this: Do the people that are smearing Karl Rove not have confidence in Mr. Fitzgerald? Do they not think, in fact, he’s going to get to the bottom of it? Or would they rather, than getting to the facts, try to make political gain?

There’s also a great back and forth between Ken Mehlman and John Podesta in the transcript where they both bring up valid points. I personally think Russert did a good job of balance with these interviews.

What do you think?

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