Ari Fleischer said he leaked the Plame news to John Dickerson; John Dickerson denied it. John Dickerson continues to cover his own news-making and makes an interesting point:
The defense team also suggested that Cooper had learned about Wilson's wife not just from administration officials but from me. This isn't the case, and Cooper didn't say otherwise. But whenever Libby's lawyers tried to get more specific about my role, Fitzgerald objected. (I can't figure out why exactly.) The judge circumscribed the defense's inquiry into what I had told Cooper.
Well, it is not clear what happened, but I'll grant that there were grounds for confusion. This is from Rory O'Connor:
In any event, Rove told him Plame was CIA. John Dickerson had told him about at least one other government official–presumably Fleischer—saying the same thing.
Cooper next spoke to Libby, and asked him about Plame being in the CIA. Libby said, “Yeah, I heard something like that.” Cooper took that as confirmation.
The sequence, Cooper believes, was first Rove, then Dickerson and his source, and then Libby all spoke of Plame being in CIA.
And this from Marcy Wheeler:
J did you ask him where he heard it. In terms of sequence, either reporters or govt officials that you mentioned or who mentioned to you, Karl, then Dickerson, then Libby
MC That I want to qualify, it's possible that Dickerson had his conversation before I spoke to Rove, My understanding is it went me, Dickerson source, then Libby.
It's not crystal clear. But my question is this - just what was the nature of the objection noted by Rory O'Connor here:
Cooper had three sources for his knowledge: Libby, Rove and one other.
“Was the third source John Dickerson of Time?” asks the defense.
On the one hand, I can see an objection to asking Cooper to describe what Fleischer said to Dickerson - that would be hearsay, and the correct people to ask would normally be Fleischer and Dickerson.
On the other hand (and with all these hands, you know my background is economics, not law), the defense is surely entitled to ask about Cooper's state of mind. And *IF* Cooper believed that Dickerson had obtained an independent confirmation of Plame's CIA affiliation, then two helpful points for the defense may follow:
(1) Cooper may have been a bit less likely to even have asked Libby about Plame - was he really fishing for a third confirmation?
(2) *IF* Cooper already had two confirmations, he may not have been hanging on every word of Libby's answer. IF Libby had said "Yes, I've heard reporter gossip about that", Cooper may have tuned out after "Yes".
I'm just wondering - what was the nature of the objection to asking Cooper about his take-away from his chat with Dickerson?