Monday, September 29, 2003

BREAKING...: From tomorrow's Washington Post. Key grafs...

A senior official quoted Bush as saying, "I want to get to the bottom of this," during a meeting yesterday morning with a few top aides, including Rove. Senior intelligence officials said yesterday that the CIA filed what they termed a "crime report" with the Justice Department in late July, shortly after syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, citing two unnamed administration sources, identified Wilson's wife by name. The CIA report pointed to a "possible violation of federal criminal law involving the unauthorized disclosure of classified information."


Another journalist yesterday confirmed receiving a call from an administration official providing the same information about Wilson's wife before the Novak column appeared on July 14 in The Post and other newspapers.

The journalist, who asked not to be identified because of possible legal ramifications, said that the information was provided as part of an effort to discredit Wilson, but that the CIA information was not treated as especially sensitive. "The official I spoke with thought this was a part of Wilson's story that wasn't known and cast doubt on his whole mission," the person said, declining to identify the official he spoke with. "They thought Wilson was having a good ride and this was part of Wilson's story."


Wilson said yesterday that he believes Rove "at a minimum condoned the leak," but said he has no evidence Rove was the original leaker. Wilson said that based on reporters' statements, he believes Rove participated in calls that drew attention to his wife's occupation after Novak's column was published. "My knowledge is based on a reporter who called me right after he had spoken to Rove and said that Rove had said my wife was fair game," Wilson said. He said that conversation occurred on July 21.

Wilson said a producer from another network told him about the same time, "The White House is saying things about you and your wife that are so off the wall that we won't use them." Wilson said the series of similar calls he received, which included four journalists from three networks, stopped on July 22, after he appeared on NBC's "Today" show and said the disclosure of his wife's maiden name could jeopardize the "entire network that she may have established."
The article also mentions that "[i]f the department's career counter-espionage lawyers find grounds for a full investigation, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft will have to decide whether to name a special counsel to oversee the case." But as mentioned in the post below, the New York Times is already reporting that Ashcroft has opted for a FBI investigation instead of a special council. To be continued.


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