Was it Rove?

We still don’t know. According to Capitol Hill Blue, “The Bush Administration is scrambling behind the scenes to stop a criminal indictment against Presidential advisor Karl Rove for disclosing classified information to reporters in an attempt to discredit a White House critic.” But according to Salon.com’s War Room, “MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell has been selling his own story hard at the Huffington Post, and in the process he’s gotten a little ahead of himself. Over the weekend, he said that Newsweek was working on an “It’s Rove!” story and would “probably break it” Sunday. What Newsweek actually reported Sunday was a little less than all that: Newsweek said that email messages Time turned over to the federal prosecutor handling the Plame investigation reveal that Rove was one of Matthew Cooper’s sources as he worked on a Plame story, but that it’s unclear what Rove told Cooper.” Capitol Hill Blue says, “Emails recently turned over to a federal grand jury investigating the leak show Cooper told his editors that Rove was the source of the information. In addition, Rove attorney Karl Luskin confirms that Cooper interviewed Rove for the article but claims that his client ‘never knowingly disclosed classified information.'”

O’Donnell focuses on the word, “knowingly,” taking this as an admission that Rove was indeed the source of the leak. Where Salon.com sees Rove as one source in the story, Capitol Hill Blue seems to take the absence of other named names as sources as evidence that Rove was the source of the leak. But they say more:

Bill Israel, a former reporter who teaches journalism at the University of Massachusetts and who taught with Rove at the University at Texas, says Rove could have easily set up the Plame affair.

“Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability,” Israel says. “Consequently, when former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson challenged President Bush’s embrace of the British notion that Saddam Hussein imported uranium from Niger to produce nuclear weapons, retaliation by Rove was never in doubt.”

So I’m guessing it was Rove, but he’ll dodge prosecution.

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