John Dickerson of TIME, writing in Slate, tells us that Karl Rove's story about Matt Cooper and the missing email does not make sense - it is simply implausible that Rove could have forgotten this. (By the way, folks with a better memory than Karl's will recall that Mr. Dickerson had a byline on the July 2003 TIME story that made Matt Cooper famous.)
As to what does or does not make sense, let's pick out a few details from Mr. Dickerson's effort. Here is his theme:
But wouldn't a man [such as Rove] who has such a busy life filled with so many distractions have been extra careful to examine his memory and his files when the question of who revealed the identity of Joe Wilson's wife started to become an issue? Lots of important people in Washington were asking, and some of them had subpoena power.
You tell me. Here is his first point:
The first time Rove must have considered the question of whether he'd talked about Joe Wilson and his wife was on July 14, 2003, just three days after he spoke to Cooper. That's when a story appeared by Bob Novak (no relation to Viveca) revealing that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. A source close to Rove confirmed to me the widely held speculation that Rove was one of Novak's sources. The story caused a stir because it was a tantalizing new detail in the ongoing White House effort to undermine Wilson's report.
Emphasis added. First, although the story was published on July 14, it went out on the AP wires on Friday, July 11, the same day Rove spoke to Cooper. Secondly, Rove spoke to Cooper just before leaving on vacation, so he may have missed the July 14 plot twists.
And you will have to trust me on this (or see this contemporaneous UPDATE, or the Washington Monthly, or the Free Republic), but when TIME originally published their web-site only story by Cooper, Dickerson, et al, they said this:
Some government officials, noting that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
By July 22, TIME was so swept up in the "stir" caused by Novak that they amended their story slightly with a parenthetical insertion:
And some government officials have noted to TIME in interviews, (as well as to syndicated columnist Robert Novak) that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA official who monitors the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
If Novak created a stir on July 14, it took a while to reach either the White House briefing room or TIME magazine.
Mr. Dickerson also manages to amuse with this:
Rove's conversation with Cooper hadn't been a negligible interaction in his own mind. It was important enough that he wrote an e-mail message about it. "Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," Rove wrote Stephen J. Hadley, who has since risen to become Bush's national security adviser. "When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out in front on this."
Mightn't Rove at least have checked to see if the country's top newsmagazine took his advice or not about treating Wilson seriously? (In fact, it didn't. Wilson's claims led to a cover story, but the piece did not say anything about Wilson's wife.)
So let's see - Rove talks to Cooper and mentions Wilson's wife. That detail is not repeated in the Time cover story, but only runs at the TIME website. And therefore, the conversation with Cooper should be burned into Rove's brain while he is away on vacation and missing all of this?
Well, the DoJ also forgot to ask about Cooper in their original document request in Sept 2003, so forgetting Matt Cooper seems to have been easy to do. Left unmentioned [See Note!] in this story is that Matt Cooper had been on TIME's Washington desk only a few weeks, and this was one of his first chats with Karl Rove. That might make it more memorable for Cooper, but it may have had the opposite effect on Rove.
NOTE: Ahh, left unmentioned except where he mentions it:
Rove can't reasonably be expected to remember conversations that may have had no special relevance in his mind at the time they took place with a reporter he was talking to for the first time.
OK, a Lewis Libby moment for me. Unstaged, too.
MORE: Posting may be a bit cryptic today - I can get into my hosting service at Typepad, but I cannot get my site to load, so I am not at all sure what the rest of you are seeing. However, I see from the comments and traffic that some folks are getting in to something - very odd.