Who Accessed the Rove Email Search on July 26, 2005?

As I explained in my last post, one of the documents turned over to CREW shows evidence of email searches done in 2004, presumably as part of the Plame investigation (and kudos, again, to WO for noticing these searches). Pages 44 through 46 show a search conducted on November 9, 2004 for Cooper and Rove and NSC emails. This search is almost certainly in response to a Fitzgerald request after Rove turned over his email to Hadley before he testified on October 15, 2004. Presumably, after Fitz got an email that hadn’t been turned over as evidence, he asked the White House to redo the search, which they got around to doing after making sure Bush won the election.

Interestingly, it appears there were almost no results for NSC files on July 14, 2003, the day Novak’s column came out.

There are two more interesting details about this search.


On the bottom of page 45, in the last column, it shows three files were last opened on different dates than others.

Two files named WHO_2003_0309_26272829.pst and WHO_2003_930+923.pst were both last opened on July 28, 2004. This was a search for email mentioning Matt Cooper, apparently.

And a file named Rove Final.pst was opened on July 26, 2005.

Now, as to the first two searches last opened in July 2004, they may have been searches done in response to Judge Hogan’s decision that Matt Cooper would have to testify. Or, just as likely, they might be searches in response to Colin Powell’s testimony on July 16; recall the story of a Principals meeting in late September at which the leak was discussed. But both of those stories would be weird: if the files were in preparation for Cooper’s testimony, then why search on September 23 and 30, specifically–particularly since both of those dates come after Cooper’s welfare article (for which Rove was a source) was published earlier in September? Alternately, if the search was a response to Powell’s testimony, then why focus on Cooper in particular? And were those files just renamed later that year when the more expansive searches were done?

Then there’s the other file: a search for Rove’s emails completed in November 2004, but last opened on July 26, 2005. That says the search was done, but someone went back to see what the search was. The file was opened a few weeks after Matt Cooper testified about the leak from Rove. It was also just days before Rove aides Susan Ralston and Israel Hernandez testified and was in the same month that Robert Luskin offered to have Rove testify again (for what would be the fourth time). Read more

Matt Cooper Predicts Bad Things for His Buddy Karl Rove

Image by Twolf

Image by Twolf

It was bound to happen. Matt Cooper, to whom Karl Rove leaked Valerie Wilson’s identity, is now reporting on Karl Rove again (at his new digs over at TPM). Better yet, Matt suggests Turdblossom may have miscalculated in his efforts to avoid testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

I spoke with a Washington lawyer who has dealt with many presidential privilege issues and he (or is it she?) raised some interesting questions and offered a prediction.

The first interesting point the person raised is that Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, may have made a tactical mistake in writing to White House Counsel Greg Craig for an opinion. "Be careful what you ask for," the source said. After all, Craig could come up with a rationale for Rove testifying. And why rush to Craig at all when you might prevail in the courts? True, the courts have been loathe to offer hard and fast rules in these cases but it would seem worth pursuing such a legal avenue before going to the Democratic White House for solace. My source predicted that in the end there probably will be some kind of accomodation with Rove answering questions on some topics and not on others rather than a showdown that drags on endlessly. Interestingly, the source thought Obama’s executive order on presidential records differed enough from the question of testimony that it probably would not be determinative in the end. [my emphasis]

See? I’m not crazy!! There’s a difference between Executive Prvilege and Absolute Immunity (otherwise known as the claim that you can just blow off Congress). And Rove may not be playing this one correctly, not least because Greg Craig has a great deal of leeway in how he responds to Rove.

Jeebus, I hope Matt’s source is right that Luskin screwed up tactically. Because, thus far, Luskin has been really lucky (and, I have to begrudgingly admit, good) with his defense of Rove.

At some point the luck has to start turning against Turdblossom, doesn’t it?

Missing Emails: Addington’s Search Terms

Among the documents introduced at the trial was a draft version of the search that David Addington requested Keith Roberts of the Office of Administration to do on the emails on the OVP server. This is not a final version–it is what Addington sent to Deputy Special Counsel Roos to get his approval before he submitted it to Roberts to do his search. So hopefully Roos fixed some of the glaring holes in the email search–I don’t know.

In any case, here are the searches Addington requested in order to elicit emails on or to journalists from June 1 to October 31, 2003 and Joe and Valerie Wilson from October 1, 2003 until January 23, 2004 (I’m having a few technical issues, so this isn’t an image; make sure you click through to see the PDF):

First Search

Search for email messages created between June 1, 2003 and October 31, 2003, inclusive through use of the following search terms:


Second Search

Search for e-mail messages created between October 1, 2003 and January 23, 2004, inclusive, through use of the following search terms:

"Joseph_C._Wilson" or "Joseph_wilson" or "Joe_wilson" or "Ambassador_wilson" or "Amb._Wilson" or "Amb_Wilson" or "Plame_" or "Niger_"

Now, once again, I don’t know whether this search for emails used these precise search terms, but if it did, here are the gaping holes which the search wouldn’t cover:

Journalist Names

For the journalists with unusual last names, Addington requests a search of those last names, which would be the most expansive search. Such journalists include Russert, Sanger, and Kristof–all names that, by the time this thing was done (and certainly before for Paul Gigot and Timmeh Russert)–were probably self explanatory without the first name. Curiously, the list of last name searches includes Dickerson; that’s surprising because John Dickerson’s last name is neither so unique nor his role in this story so central (unless you’re trying to make Ari Fleischer the fall guy) that it should be self-standing.

But notice some of the journalists for whom Addington submits first and last name, in quotes, that would return just that string: Judith Miller, Matthew Cooper, and Andrea Mitchell. This search will probably return any email from or to these journalists, picking up email signatures with their full names. Read more