Was it Karl Rove?

MSNBC political analyst says Rove leaked Valerie Plame's identity to Time reporter Matthew Cooper.

Published July 2, 2005 7:02PM (EDT)

Is Karl Rove the one who outed Valerie Plame? MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell says he's got two sources who say so.

During Friday's taping of the McLaughlin Group, O'Donnell said: "I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this, but the source [for Time reporter] Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be revealed in this document dump that Time magazine's going to do with the grand jury."

Now, in an item in the Huffington Post, O'Donnell says a second source has confirmed for him that Rove revealed to Cooper Plame's identity as a CIA agent. "I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury," O'Donnell says. "Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow."

Indeed, Newsweek has just released a story on Rove's connection to the Plame leak, but the magazine doesn't connect the dots quite as clearly as O'Donnell suggested it might. The Newsweek article says that email messages Time turned over this week to the federal prosecutor handling the Plame investigation reveal that Rove was one of Cooper's sources as he worked on a Plame story -- a fact Rove's lawyer confirmed to Newsweek -- but that it's unclear what Rove told Cooper.

If it turns out that Rove is the one who leaked Plame's identity, perhaps it's a good time to remember what George W. Bush said about the Plame case back in 2003. "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at a fundraising stop in Chicago. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. . . . I want to know the truth. Leaks of classified information are bad things."

By Tim Grieve

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

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