Plamegate: Has perception become reality?

The more information that becomes available about Rove’s conversation with the Time’s Matt Cooper, the more obvious it seems (at least to me, anyway) that not only did Rove not leak Plame’s name, but in fact, Cooper was the one who called Rove – suggesting that Rove wasn’t actively hunting for reporters he could use to help throw Plame’s name out into the limelight. John Podhoretz picked up on this, too:

Byron York has a vital detail in his must-read piece right now on the main part of the NRO website. Karl Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, tells Byron that Time’s Matt Cooper called Rove to talk about something else and that only secondarily did the subject of Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame come up.

This is important, because it suggests Rove wasn’t “retailing” the information about Wilson and Plame — wasn’t reporter-shopping to drop a dirty dime on those involved — but was rather a passive source, answering a phone call at the reporter’s behest and presumably changing topics to the sexier one at issue at the reporter’s behest as well.

Podhoretz is the man to listen to on this issue, especially seeing that (in light of the released Cooper emails) it would seem that he’s having a “Told Jah So!” moment (via Captain’s Quarters):

Podhoretz: I offered my speculation of what an administration official might have said to a journalist to explain just how Wilson β€” a Clinton administration official β€” got the assignment in the first place: “Administration official: ‘We didn’t send him there. Cheney’s office asked CIA to get more information. CIA picked Wilson . . . Look, I hear his wife’s in the CIA. He’s got nothing to do. She wanted to throw him a bone.’ ”
Hate to say I told you so, but . . .

According to this week’s Newsweek, Karl Rove said something very similar indeed to Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper:

In the Cooper e-mails just surrendered by Time to the prosecutor looking into the Plame case, “Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a ‘big warning’ not to ‘get too far out on Wilson.’ Rove told Cooper that Wilson’s trip had not been authorized by . . . CIA Director George Tenet . . . or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, ‘it was, [Rove] said, Wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.’ ”

There’s no mistaking the purpose of this conversation between Cooper and Rove. It wasn’t intended to discredit, defame or injure Wilson’s wife. It was intended to throw cold water on the import, seriousness and supposedly high level of Wilson’s findings.

Bang on.

Podhoretz (via the earlier NRO link supplied) is also speculating that the Plame leaker is none other than the jailed NY Times reporter Judith Miller:

What if the original source for the “Wilson got the job from his CIA wife” was, in fact, a reporter? After all, we know that the vice president’s chief of staff, Lewis Libby, has testified he learned of Plame’s identity from a journalist.

Wilson had gotten very cozy with a couple of them — Walter Pincus of the Washington Post and Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times among them. What if he spilled the beans to enhance his own standing in the story somehow, to bolster his supposed findings?

What if — and here’s where it gets really interesting — what if the real object of interest where Fitzgerald’s investigation is concerned is now none other than the jailed Judith Miller of the New York Times? What if she let it all slip and in the giant game of telephone around the nation’s capital, Miller was the original source of the “Plame’s in the CIA” info? What if Fitzgerald needs her notes to discern whether Miller knew or didn’t know of Plame’s supposedly covert status?

Fitzgerald already has a major bone to pick with Miller. He believes she materially and dangerously impeded his investigation into a terrorist-financing scheme run by the Holy Land Foundation.

Hmmmm …. now wouldn’t THAT be something?!

Here’s something to ponder: assuming the leak DID come from the a ‘senior WH official’ and the name was leaked knowingly and intentionally to a reporter in order to try and discredit Joe Wilson, what if it’s NOT Karl Rove? I guarantee you this right now: if it’s discovered that there is indeed a leaker in the WH, and it’s not Karl Rove, you’re going to be hearing some major cries of disappointment from the liberals (both average Joes and MSM reporters alike) who’ve pushed for perception to become reality in terms of almost outright asserting that Rove was the leaker.

If it’s found that there was no such leaker in the WH, will the MSM and the millions of liberals who have condemned the WH and the man they hate more than W (Karl Rove) apologize? Don’t bet on it.

More: Howie Kurtz discusses jailed Times reporter Judith Miller and the legal strategy apparently adopted by the NYTimes.