In this corner, Karl "Bunsen" Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
And in this corner, Bob "Gargamel" Novak and Tim "Timmah!" Russert.
As reported by the fine folks of Think Progress, it looks like we're heading to a showdown between these two sides in a He-Said-He-Said-He-Said-He-Said four-way cage match.
Two top White House aides have given accounts to the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according to persons familiar with the case.
Lewis “Scooter'’ Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has testified before a federal grand jury that he didn’t tell Libby of Plame’s identity.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame’s name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special prosecutor.
These discrepancies may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.
In a showdown between Rove and Novak, it's really hard to find someone to root for. But in a showdown between the most trusted name in Washington journalism and Dick Cheney's consigliere, well, I wonder which one's going to be believed?