MR. ROVE: No. Look, her husband wrote a op-ed that we now know by—in a statement issued on July 11th by the director of the CIA, backed by a report by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, was misleading and inaccurate. The vice president, the White House and the director of the CIA did not send Mr. Wilson to Africa to look into—to the question of uranium cake from Niger to Iraq.
Okay, check for yourself. Does Joe Wilson say–anywhere in the op-ed–that the vice president, the White House or the director of the CIA sent Joe Wilson? Here’s the exact quote:
In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney’s office had questions about a particular intelligence report. While I never saw the report, I was told that it referred to a memorandum of agreement that documented the sale of uranium yellowcake — a form of lightly processed ore — by Niger to Iraq in the late 1990′s. The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president’s office.[my emphasis]
Wilson said that “agency officials” asked him to go to Niger, not Cheney, Tenet, or the White House. And in fact, Tenet’s statement doesn’t refute this scenario, either–it completely supports it. Rove’s statement is just a shameless lie–and Gregory likely knows that, too, since he was critical of all the White House prevaricating the week of the leak.
Of course, lying is pretty much all Rove’s got, since he as much as admits that it was inappropriate for him and Libby to go after Valerie Wilson. Though he’s not going to apologize, mind you, because that would make it a lot easier for the Wilsons to sue Rove’s doughy ass.
Meanwhile, aside from the nice theater of inviting Matt Cooper to debunk Rove–after Rove had safely retreated to the green room–NBC’s David Gregory doesn’t ask any of the logical follow-up questions.
But what do you expect? NBC insists on having the guys who are part of the story interview the other people who are part of the story. Russert interviews Novak, and Gregory interviews Rove. So even though Gregory no doubt knows that Rove is lying about Wilson’s op-ed, he’s not going to ask any tough questions because it might spark Rove to put Gregory on the spot. You know–by asking Gregory why he continues to refuse to discuss how Ari Fleischer leaked Valerie Wilson’s identity to him, in spite of the fact that Fleischer never considered their conversation a confidential one?
Please! Give us Shuster!
It’s a pity, too. Because Rove today went official with his cover story for his leak to Bob Novak. And it’d be nice if someone would point out how closely Rove’s cover story parallels the story that Libby told investigators. You know–the one deemed by a jury of Libby’s peers to be a deliberate and felonious lie?
Update: Jeebus! It’s a testament to how conflicted NBC is on this particular story that Fox News (I know) challenges Rove more on his fishy story than Gregory does!