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Rove's Name Is Spoken - Brit Hume Defends

Reported by Donna - July 6, 2005

Today on Studio B with Shepard Smith, they brought out their big gun to tackle the Valerie Plame Grand Jury case. Seems they were afraid of Shepard being a bit vociferous lately when it comes to the Valerie Plame case, so they brought in Brit Hume to tone it down.

The following is my transcript of the segment between Shepard Smith and Brit Hume on the Valerie Plame case. (Paraphrased, but pretty much verbatim)

It's long, but I promise, you'll enjoy Hume's defense of Rove.

Shepard Smith: How might the White House be affected. Washington Management Editor, Brit Hume is here for some comment on what this all means. Did this help us learn anything?

Brit Hume: Shep, this has turned into the most puzzling case because there are a couple of things that are no longer clear. One of the things that is no longer clear anymore is just exactly what crime the prosecutor is investigating.

You'll recall that this began as an inquiry into the possible criminal leak of classified information regarding the identity of a CIA operative.

(Here's where he starts defending)

Now, you got to prove an awful lot to prove that. You have to prove that the person who leaked the information got it through classified sources and knew what he or she was saying would have the effect of outing an undercover operative and all that. That's not easily proven. (In other words, it was done but you can't prove it legally)

And it was never clear from the beginning that this was an attempt to do this. It was always much more likely and indeed, Bob Novak, the person who supposedly got the original leak, the columnist, has always said that he didn't think any crime occurred, that nobody was trying to out anybody and the implication always was that it was some kind of a passing comment. Uh...by somebody, who had no intention of revealing a classified source or any criminal intent. (Well, if he didn't have any criminal intent, we'll let Rove get away with it, right!)

So...it's not clear. Time Magazine has been saying for some time that that's not what the crime, that's not the crime that prosecutors are investigating anymore. The prosecutors are now really trying to investigate if someone during the course of the investigation made conflicting or false statments.

So, we don't really know what this prosecutor is doing. What we know is he's got the court to agree that he's entitled to the testimony of these journalists. You look at the case of...sorry..

Video break to Judith Miller's attorney. He speaks briefly and ends his statement with, 'I think anyone who believes that government and other powerful institutions should be closely and aggressively watched should feel a chill up their spines today.'

SS: They should feel like a chill up their spine. Now, let's talk about what he's saying here. Two points. One of them is this White House, any White House, needs to have a group of reporters looking out for the interests of the people to make sure that the White House isn't doing things wrong to people.

Brit Hume back with us. Brit, should this send a chill up the spine's to those who want aggressive coverage of the White House? (What happened to point two?)

BH: Well, that's a melodramatic way of putting it. I'm more interested in what he said first, which is the point I was trying to make. It's not clear what this guy's investigating.

SS: Right.

BH: You'll recall that at the beginning of this, Shep, the accusation was made by Valerie Plame, she's the person who was supposedly outed (supposedly? I think she was outed) husband, Joe Wilson, an administrative critic (more than that he was an ambassador and served under several administrations, but don't disclose those facts, Brit). This was revenge on him for his criticism of the administration. And he blamed Karl Rove. Karl Rove, we now know several things about. One is that he testified before the grand jury and his lawyer has said he has done so more than once. (Brownie points for Karl Rove)

His lawyer has also said and I believe, the prosecutor has confirmed, that Karl Rove has released all journalists from obligations of confidentiality as regarding him.

Now, Matt Cooper's source, whoever that was, apparently just released him from his oath of confidentiality, or pledge of confidentiality. So, it doesn't make any sense that Matt Cooper's source was Karl Rove, at least in any way that matters to this case.

The question, of course, remains who was Judith Miller's source. The prosecutor is saying, 'I know who Judith Miller's source was and that source has released her from her obligation of confidentiality. And she is saying she doesn't trust that release. She believes it was coerced. That seems to me to be a judgement that she must believe, pretty passionately, because she's going to go to jail on it.

I'm skeptical of it all. I don't know exactly what Judith Miller's protecting here. I don't know what the prosecution is investigating. But, it seems to me that we are waste deep in the big muddy (oh brother) on an investigation that the original crime suspected may not have occurred.

So, what a mess.

SS: Yeah, I'd say. Just for our viewers, Judith Miller, according to disptatches from the courtroom, stood and hugged her lawyer and was escorted from the courtroom. The judge saying that there's a realistic possibility that being sent to jail might get her to testify.

Of course, a lot of what is going on here, Brit, is just as you detailed. There are those who have been suggesting that Karl Rove leaked this name or had someone else leak this name in an effort to get back because he (Joe Wilson) did a report from Africa, found that there was nothing that the president had said there was, and that the White House wanted him shut up or punished along those ways and outing was a way to do it, but outing a CIA agent or employee, well, that's a federal offense.

BH: Well, it can be a federal offense depending on the circumstances. You've to to prove a lot. (this is his stance) The trouble with this crime, the crime that's involved here..err..suspected here, is that there are a lot of things that have to be attended to. There has to be a purpose of it. You've got to have gotten the information that you leaked in a certain way and if you don't have all of these things, you don't have a crime and you're probably not going to have a conviction. And it's always been a good question from the beginning, whether this prosecutor was on a fools errand? (And thus, the defense of Karl Rove?)

SS: Well, the prosecutor is now investigating the possibility that Karl Rove committed perjury before the grand jury.

BH: (Rushing his words) Well, we don't know if it's Karl Rove he's investigating. We know...he...uh...Time Magazine is claiming that the investigation is something to....whether some witness made a conflicting statement. We don't know if it's Karl Rove or not.

And, his lawyer, by the way, says he is not, he is not the object of the investigation, he is not the target of the investigation (well, as long as his lawyer vouches for him). In other words, (doesn't Bush use this expression a lot?) he is not the one under criminal suspicion, and you know, the fact that he's testified in this case means that, yeah, that could be the situation in which you make a conflicting statement, but it sounds like he's a cooperating witness and it would be a little surprising, at this late stage of the game, after all of this and after he testified, that he's still in the spotlight here. One senses he may not be (now we're relying on 'sense').

SS: This is a story that needs some time to settle.

BH: There's a lot we don't know, Shep.

SS: Hopefully we'll know more by your show tonight.

Comment: Shepard Smith has been getting a little loose on the lips regarding the administration lately, and I think they used Brit Hume to reign him in a bit. Hume gives his long, rambling explanations, but really doesn't say anything except, 'you've got to do a lot to prove it's a crime'.

So, in other words, maybe Rove did it, but try and prove it was anything but an innocent statement.

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to read a long transcript (it took a while to type, too), I appreciate it.

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