Did Karl Rove -- gasp! -- lie?

The American Prospect has sources who say that Rove didn't disclose his conversation with Matthew Cooper in his first interview with the FBI.

Published July 20, 2005 1:36PM (EDT)

Yes, we know that the president of the United States has just nominated a Supreme Court justice. We've had a few words to say on the subject already, and we'll surely return to it soon. But first, let's spend just a few more minutes with Karl Rove and Valerie Plame, shall we? And while we're doing that, let's ponder this: Did Karl Rove lie when he first met with the FBI?

The American Prospect has sources who say yes. Investigative reporter Murray Waas says that "legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter" tell him that Rove didn't disclose in his first interview with the FBI that he had discussed Plame with Time's Matthew Cooper. "The omission by Rove," Waas says, "created doubt for federal investigators, almost from the inception of their criminal probe into who leaked Plame's name to columnist Robert Novak, as to whether Rove was withholding crucial information from them, and perhaps even misleading or lying to them, the sources said."

Waas said investigators have also been troubled by something that's been troubling us, too: Rove's seemingly vague memory about where he first heard that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Depending on what report you read, Rove told the grand jury that he first heard it from a reporter; that he believes he may have heard it from a reporter; that he heard it from a reporter but that he doesn't remember which one or when; or that he heard it "either from the media or from someone in government who said the information came from a journalist." Waas' sources say that Rove's vague and wavering answers on this point have added to investigators' skepticism about the veracity of his testimony -- especially in light of the fact that a State Department memo that revealed Plame's identity was floating around Air Force One just before Rove spoke with Robert Novak and Matthew Cooper about the Plame case.

By Tim Grieve

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

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