Letter To Bush -- Rove Needs To Come Clean Or Resi
Letter To Bush -- Rove Needs To Come Clean Or Resign
After reading the disclosures over the weekend, by Newsweek and Larry O'Donnell that Karl Rove had indeed been confirmed as one of the sources being used by Time for their Plame investigation, I quickly drafted a sign-on letter to the President asking him to either require that Rove clear his name or resign. Rawstory has the story and a copy of my letter.
One really needs to take a step back to appreciate what we now know. Fitzgerald may or may not be able to prove that Mr. Rove knowingly outed Valerie Plame, but the facts being reported by the media, and largely confirmed by Rove's attorney, indicate that he engaged in a media campaign to discredit a prominent American public servant, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for disclosing what he knew about the Administration's mistatements concerning WMD. As Rove told Chris Matthews last year, he felt Wilson's wife was "fair game" for the press. These facts represent an outrageous admisssion, and only the President can eliminate the stain on his Administration by demanding that Rove come clean. Rove clearly has the right to defend himself and avoid difficult questions, as a private citizen. But as a government employee, and perhaps the most important individual in the Administration ("Bush's Brain"), the country is entitled to more than I didn't "knowingly" out a CIA operative from Rove's attorney.
This being a recess week, it will be somewhat difficult to obtain co-signatories. But the issue was important enough that I felt we couldn't wait in getting Members on record that this type of abusive behavior should not be tolerated.
**** TEXT OF THE SIGNON LETTER ****
July 7, 2005
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
We write in order to urge that you require your Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, to either come forward immediately to explain his role in the Valerie Plame matter or to resign from your Administration.
Notwithstanding whether Mr. Rove intentionally violated the law in leaking information concerning former CIA operative Valerie Plame, we believe it is not tenable to maintain Mr. Rove as one of your most important advisors unless he is willing to explain his central role in using the power and authority of your Administration to disseminate information regarding Ms. Plame and to undermine her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
We now know that e-mails recently turned over by Time, Inc. between writer Matthew Cooper and Time editors reveal that one of Mr. Cooper’s principal sources in the Plame matter was Mr. Rove. This has been confirmed by Newsweek and two lawyers representing witnesses involved in the investigation. Mr. Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, also has confirmed that Mr. Rove was interviewed by Mr. Cooper in connection with a possible article about Ms. Plame three or four days before Robert Novak wrote a column outing Ms. Plame as a CIA operative.
We also know that Mr. Rove told Chris Matthews that Ambassador Wilson’s wife and her undercover status were “fair game.” A White House source also appears to have previously acknowledged that Mr. Rove contacted Mr. Matthews and other journalists, indicating that “it was reasonable to discuss who sent Wilson to Niger.”
The above facts appear to be directly inconsistent with previous statements by you and representatives of your Administration concerning leaking in general and the Plame case in particular. For example, on September 30, 2003, you stated “there’s just too many leaks [in Washington]. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.” You also stated “I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business.” On October 10, 2003, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked if Mr. Rove or two other aides in your Administration had ever discussed the Plame matter with any reporter, and he stated he had spoken to Mr. Rove and the others and “they assured me that they were not involved in this.”
Regardless of whether these actions violate the law – including specific laws against the disclosure of classified information as well as broader laws against obstruction of justice, the negligent distribution of defense information, and obligating reporting of press leaks to proper authorities – they seem to reveal a course of conduct designed to threaten and intimidate those who provide information critical of your Administration, such as Ambassador Wilson.
We hope you agree with us that such behavior should never be tolerated by any Administration. While it is acceptable for a private citizen to use every legal tool at his or her disposal to protect himself against legal liability, high-ranking members of your Administration who are involved in any effort to smear a private citizen or to disseminate information regarding a CIA operative should be expected to meet a far higher standard of ethical behavior and forthrightness. This is why we believe it is so important that Mr. Rove publicly and fully explain his role in this matter.
John Conyers (Congressional
**** LETTER ENDS ****