The shifting stories of Karl Rove

Rove's lawyer says that his client didn't name names in the Plame case. But in 2003, Rove's denial was far broader than that.

Topics: War Room, Karl Rove,

When CNN asked Karl Rove last summer about the Valerie Plame case, he said, “I didn’t know her name. I didn’t leak her name.” In making that fine, legalistic distinction — it turns out that Rove might not have named names, but he did tell Time’s Matthew Cooper that Joe Wilson’s wife, who just happens to be Valerie Plame, was a CIA analyst — Rove said he was merely repeating “what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke some number of months ago.”

The folks at the Center for American Progress have done some digging and come up with a September 2003 edition of ABC’s The Note in which Rove makes the comments — or comment — to which he was apparently referring. And unfortunately for Rove, it’s just a little less nuanced than he might like it to be today. According to The Note, an ABC producer asked Rove, “Did you have any knowledge or did you leak the name of the CIA agent to the press?” His answer: “No.”

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It’s now clear that that wasn’t true: Rove may or may not have leaked “the name of the CIA agent to the press,” but he sure had some “knowledge” of the subject. Perhaps ABC could ask Rove if he’d like to revise his unequivocal denial of two years ago. And perhaps someone in the White House press corps might like to ask White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan if he’s standing by what he said about the Plame outing back in September of 2003. “If anyone in this administration was involved in it,” McClellan said then, “they would no longer be in this administration.”

Last time we checked, Karl Rove was still on the White House payroll.

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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