Monday, July 11, 2005

What Will the Reporter's Notes Reveal? Karl Rove?

It looks like the press is openly naming Karl Rove as someone who was a source to Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper.  (see Wall Street Jrl here and NYTimes here).  This does not, however, mean that Karl Rove committed a crime.   

What the prosecutor needs to still determine is who leaked this information to the press and did anyone who leaked this information lie to the grand jury.  Either of these two items could produce a criminal charge. A deliberate leak to the press for political reasons could make for a strong criminal case, as juries like a motive for criminal actions even when the statute may not require one.  A leak that came from another source might complicate the case.

But why is Judith Miller still in jail?  She didn't print the story and the prosecutor has yet to say what crime her testimony is needed for in this grand jury investigation.  Even if this can't be stated to the press and public, has this been disclosed ex parte to the court?   



UPDATE (7/11):  Needless to say, the White House press corps was quite interested in the status of Karl Rove, and the following exchange took place between Press Secretary Scott McClellan and a reporter (full transcript of the press briefing available here):

Q Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?

MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question. I think your question is being asked relating to some reports that are in reference to an ongoing criminal investigation. The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Q Excuse me, but I wasn't actually talking about any investigation. But in June of 2004, the President said that he would fire anybody who was involved in this leak, to press of information. And I just want to know, is that still his position?

MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, but this question is coming up in the context of this ongoing investigation, and that's why I said that our policy continues to be that we're not going to get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation from this podium. The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium. And so that's why we are not going to get into commenting on it while it is an ongoing investigation, or questions related to it.

Stay tuned. (ph)

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