Betcha it really hurt aging hippie “Pinch” (“I Can’t Get No Vote of Confidence From Morgan Stanley”) Sulzburger to have to publish this story online today:
The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case on Monday advised Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, that he would not be charged with any wrongdoing, effectively ending the nearly three-year criminal investigation that had at times focused intensely on Mr. Rove.
The decision by the prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, announced in a letter to Mr. Rove’s lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, lifted a pall that had hung over Mr. Rove who testified on five occasions to a federal grand jury about his involvement in the disclosure of an intelligence officer’s identity.
Rove appeared five times before a grand jury investigating the CIA-leak case; the most recent was in April. Before appearing before the grand jury, Rove was interviewed by FBI agents assigned to the investigation. Fitzgerald’s inquiry, it appears, focused most intensely on the first two sessions – the FBI interview and the first grand-jury testimony.
The key question to be resolved by Fitzgerald was said to be whether to charge Rove in connection with his testimony regarding a brief July 11, 2003, conversation with Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper. In both his interview with the FBI and in his first grand jury appearance, Rove did not tell investigators about the conversation with Cooper. By the time Rove appeared for a second time before the grand jury, Rove had discovered evidence – an internal White House e-mail – showing that he did indeed talk to Cooper. Rove gave the evidence to Fitzgerald, who then questioned him about it at length.
Rove is thought to have testified that he simply did not remember the Cooper conversation until he discovered the e-mail. (Cooper himself described the talk as being about two minutes long and occurring right as Rove was leaving on vacation.) Supporting Rove’s contention was the fact that Rove, apparently, testified from the very beginning that he talked to columnist Robert Novak, which suggested he was not trying to hide his involvement in the case from Fitzgerald….
Rove’s fate has been the subject of intense discussion among critics of the Bush administration. Perhaps foremost among them is former ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was the CIA employee at the center of the affair. In August 2003, Wilson vowed to pursue Rove vigorously, saying, ‘At the end of the day it’s of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs.’
Right now, it’s of keen interest to me whether or not we can get Joe Wilson frog-marched somewhere. How about off a short pier?