As you’ll recall from the Plame case, Michael Isikoff helped Karl Rove stay out of jail in at least three ways:
- After the WaPo published the damaging 1X2X6 article, Isikoff published an article appearing to–but not entirely–refuting it (Isikoff tried again in Hubris, claiming that the 1X2X6 story only got printed due to an editorial error, an attempt that Swopa quickly shredded).
- When he called Luskin for comment on the fact that Rove was Matt Cooper’s source for Plame’s identity, Isikoff (by his own admission) read Luskin the entire email from Cooper to his editor, alerting Rove’s lawyer to everything that appeared in one of the main pieces of documentary evidence that incriminated Rove.
- Just before the inquiry,
Rovesomeone at the White House prodded Isikoff to ask Woodward about his "bombshell," probably forcing Woodward to come clean that Armitage had leaked Plame’s identity to him in June 2003, thereby ruining what little value Armitage would have had in a perjury case against Rove.
Laundering information through journalists is a common Rove tactic. For example, someone conveniently launched a false campaign insinuating Ari Fleischer was one of the Novak’s for Plame’s identity; by coincidence (ha!) that campaign was launched the day that Luskin attempted to manage the revelation that Rove was one of Novak’s sources. Even going way back to his days in Texas Rove laundered leaks through the press to attack Jim Hightower and Ronnie Earle.
But in recent years–certainly during the CIA Leak case–Isikoff has been one of Rove’s key information conduits.
In the last couple of months, Rove seems to have been attempting–with no apparent success–to goad reporters covering the Siegelman case to serve as similar information conduits. His surrogates in the AL GOP tried to demand information from CBS and MSNBC about what evidence there is implicating Karl, all while refusing to give up their own information. More recently, Rove has launched a pissing contest with Dan Abrams, attacking Abrams’ journalism, apparently in an attempt to force him to reveal information about evidence against him. Yet with Rove out of the White House, his ability to use journalists to his own ends seems to have diminished.
Except, perhaps, with Isikoff.