On the July 15 edition of CNN Live Today, host Daryn Kagan described recent news articles reporting that White House senior adviser Karl Rove had learned the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame before leaking her identity to a reporter, but left viewers in the dark that this revelation directly contradicts Rove's August 31, 2004, statement on her own cable news channel that "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name." On the same day's edition of CNN's Live From ..., White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux reported that, according to a "lawyer familiar with the grand jury investigation," Rove learned Plame's name prior to his conversation with Time reporter Matthew Cooper and that Rove did not reveal her name "because he was trying to be discreet." Like Kagan, Malveaux failed to mention Rove's prior claim on CNN that he "didn't know her name."
Reporting on a July 15 New York Times article, which noted "Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist [Robert D. Novak] the name of the C.I.A. officer" during a July 8, 2003, phone conversation, Kagan stated:
KAGAN: There is a new twist to the Karl Rove-CIA leak controversy. Latest reports indicating that the president's top political adviser may have actually learned the identity of a former CIA operative, Valerie Plame, from a reporter. That reporter, Chicago Sun-Times columnist and CNN political analyst Robert Novak. Both The New York Times and the Associated Press cite an unnamed source as saying Novak mentioned Plame's name after calling Rove, and revealing she worked for the CIA.
Kagan did not make it clear in her report, but in fact, the most significant revelation in the Times article -- and a similar article in the Associated Press -- was that prior to Rove's July 11 conversation with Cooper, he already knew not only that Plame worked for the CIA, but also her actual name. This new disclosure contradicts Rove's statement nearly a year after the Novak conversation that he "didn't know her name." The interview aired on an August 31, 2004, special edition of CNN"s NewsNight with Aaron Brown:
JOHN KING (CNN senior White House correspondent): [unintelligible] ... administration officials who have been questioned in this whole investigation, did someone in the White House leak the name of the CIA operative? What is your assessment of the status of the investigation, and can you tell us that you had nothing to do with...
ROVE: Well, I'll repeat what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke some number of months ago. I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name. This is at the Justice Department. I'm confident that the U.S. attorney, the prosecutor who's involved in looking at this, is going to do a very thorough job of doing a very substantial and conclusive investigation.
Similarly, Malveaux's Live From ... report did not point out that the claims of an anonymous "lawyer familiar with the grand jury investigation" contradicted Rove's assertion on CNN that he "didn't know her [Plame's] name." According to Malveaux, the lawyer claimed that Rove actually learned Plame's name from Novak several days prior to his conversation with Cooper and chose not to reveal her name in an alleged effort "to be discreet."
From the July 15 edition of CNN's Live From ...:
MALVEAUX: Now the interesting twist here, of course, is that learning from a lawyer familiar with the grand jury testimony. He said earlier today that it was a conversation on July 9 [sic], 2003; that it was Novak that called Rove; that he was the one who revealed the name of the CIA agent, Valerie Plame; that Rove responded that he had heard this too, that this was on the level of gossip and rumor, but that Rove did not know the identity of Valerie Plame until it was columnist Robert Novak who told him during that conversation. Also, he says that it was July 11, 2003, just two days afterwards, that Rove spoke with Time magazine's Matt Cooper. He did not mention Plame's name during that conversation, according to this source, because he was trying to be discreet. This lawyer's saying that this demonstrates that Rove was a consumer of information, not necessarily a provider.