Whether or not Karl Rove committed a crime, the White House definitely had been trying to cover up the fact that Rove discussed Joe Wilson's wife with Matt Cooper. I don't believe Bush had any involvement in the initial leak, but presumably, Rove told Bush that he was involved in the leak a long time ago. If Rove had done nothing wrong and the president really, really wanted to get to the bottom of this, why did it take contempt charges and one journalist sitting in jail for this information to come out.
Maybe, what Rove did was not illegal. That is yet to been determined. It is the fact that not only did not disclose the information, they actively lied to the American people. Hiding the information is bad enough, but McClellan specifically said that Rove had absolutely no involvement. In an interview with the FBI, Rove admitted to circulating information about Valerie Plame to journalists, but only after Bob Novak ran his story. The e-mails handed over by Time, and Matt Miller have confirmed that Rove's discussions with journalists occurred prior to Novak's column. Apparently, Rove lied to the FBI, also.
McClellan and the President had ample opportunity to release this information... but wait... that would have been before the elections.
Scott McClellan's October 7, 2003 Press Briefing
Q Scott, you have said that you, personally, went to Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Elliot Abrams to ask them if they were the leakers. Is that what happened? Why did you do that, and can you describe the conversations you had with them? What was the question you asked?
MR. McCLELLAN: Unfortunately, in Washington, D.C., at a time like this, there are a lot of rumors and innuendo. There are unsubstantiated accusations that are made. And that's exactly what happened in the case of these three individuals. They're good individuals, they're important members of our White House team, and that's why I spoke with them, so that I could come back to you and say that they were not involved. I had no doubt of that in the beginning, but I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you, and that's exactly what I did.
Q So you're saying -- you're saying categorically those three individuals were not the leakers or did not authorize the leaks; is that what you're saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: That's correct. I've spoken with them.
Q -- you asked these individuals. Did the President ask you to ask those individuals whether they were the leaker?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President made it very clear that we should cooperate fully with the Department of Justice. And in that, keeping with that direction, I am making sure that we are doing that, from my standpoint. And I think part of cooperating fully is looking into these unsubstantiated accusations that were made to make it clear to everybody that those individuals were not involved.
MR. McCLELLAN: First of all, keep in mind that there has been no information brought to our attention, beyond what's in the media reports. to suggest that there was White House involvement.
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, we talked a little bit about this earlier today in this room, as well. Obviously, it is difficult to find out who anonymous sources are. We all know that that oftentimes doesn't happen. But the President was saying that we will do everything we can to get to the bottom of this.
And, do I need to add...
MR. McCLELLAN: ...No one wants to get to the bottom of this matter more than the President of the United States. If someone leaked classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business.