You haven’t heard about it, but many reporters spent part of their weekend making calls to check out a report on a left-wing website, truthout.org , that Karl Rove has been indicted in the CIA leak investigation. The report, by someone named Jason Leopold, was posted yesterday and was headlined, “Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators.” It began:
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.
During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 business hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.
Robert Luskin, Rove’s attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.
It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.
The report came out of the blue on Saturday. Jason Leopold, who has written a memoir, entitled News Junkie
, in which, according to the book’s promotional material, he portrays himself as a writer “whose addictive tendencies led him from a life of drug abuse and petty crime to become an award-winning investigative journalist,” has written wildly unreliable reports about the CIA leak affair before. But still, reporters of every stripe felt they had to check this one out.
So did I. I talked with Rove defense spokesman Mark Corallo, who told me the story was completely baseless. Part of our conversation:
Did Patrick Fitzgerald come to Patton Boggs for 15 hours Friday?
Did he come to Patton Boggs for any period of time Friday?
Did he meet anywhere else with Karl Rove’s representatives?
Did he communicate in any way with Karl Rove’s representatives?
Did he inform Rove or Rove’s representatives that Rove had been indicted?
So there seems to be nothing to the story, certainly nothing which any other reporter has seen fit to report. Which raises a question: What is going on here? The journalists who checked out the story, quite properly, did not repeat Leopold’s bad information. But for some media blogger out there, it might be reasonable to ask: Where are these reports coming from?