And if the story is true, well, that's very bad news for Karl Rove. According to Waas:
During his initial interview with the FBI, in the fall of 2003, Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed Plame with Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, according to two legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
Now, before I get on Bob Somerby's shit list (don't I wish), let me say that this may not be as damning as it sounds. It's possible that the questions Rove was asked by the special prosecutor were not specific enough to make Rove's failure to disclose his conversation with Cooper rise to the level of perjury. Keep in mind that Rove was initially interviewed not by Fitzgerald's team of pit bulls but by FBI people who were still working for Ashcroft. So it's possible Ashcroft had focused the investigation just so, such that the tough questions were not being asked. That in itself, of course, would be a story.
The Waas article is very interesting for several reasons.
One, it underscores the importance of tough confirmation hearings even when a nominee is almost sure to be confirmed.
During his Senate confirmation hearings, Comey had pledged that he would personally see to it that the independence and integrity of the investigation would not be compromised in any way.
At one point during those hearings, Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) cited the close relationships between Ashcroft and Rove, and also between Ashcroft and others also likely to be questioned during the leak probe. Schumer asked Comey:
Now, by all accounts I've read, Comey has a lot of integrity, and he didn't need Schumer to tell him that he was to keep investigations of the executive branch fiercely impartial. But it's nice to get it in the record.
Second, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Judy Miller's trip to jail is not as clean-cut as it once appeared. It seems that prosecutors are mainly interested in what she told Rove, not the other way around. So the key in all this is not whether Rove is Miller's source, but whether Miller was Rove's. Of course, if she was the conduit for this information, the question again becomes: who told Miller?
The third thing that's interesting about the piece is that, read in timeline form the way Waas lays it out, it has the feel of a major criminal scandal. If this sequence of events is really accurate, that the FBI became convinced in 2003 that Rove was trying to mislead investigators, and they've really been looking at Rove for this long, he's probably going to be indicted. It would be a major setback for Fitzgerald's career - which seemed on the fast track to the attorney general's office before he got involved in the Plame case - for him not to return any indictments now, after a long and expensive investigation.
The Frog March Watch Begins.