The Note: When The Dog Bites

"There has been an element of pretense to the White House strategy of dealing with the Plame case since the earliest days of the saga. Revelations emerging slowly at first, and in a rapid cascade over the past several days, have made plain that many important pieces of the puzzle were not so mysterious to Rove and others inside the Bush administration. White House officials were aware of Plame and her husband's potentially damaging charge that Bush was 'twisting' intelligence about Iraq's nuclear ambitions well before the episode evolved into Washington's latest scandal. " LINK

"Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, said he can say 'categorically' that Rove did not obtain any information about Plame from any confidential source, such as a classified document. A lawyer familiar with Rove's testimony hedged a bit on who precisely told Rove about Plame, saying it may have come secondhand from another aide, as well as from Novak."

The Plame leak investigation: analysis:

Ron Brownstein columnizes in the Los Angeles Times on the Rovian GOP closing ranks around Rove while he is under attack. LINK

Brownstein's summation: "Last week's rallying around Rove sends a clear signal that most in the GOP still prefer a party that excites its base and gives no ground to critics. Revelations about Rove's role in the CIA controversy more damaging than those he's faced so far might diminish the party's willingness to defend him personally. But whatever happens to the architect, Republicans seem wedded to his combative strategy for maintaining power."

"The debate over the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity has caused a curious about-face by Washington politicians, with Democrats who have long favored a laissez-faire attitude toward leaks of classified information now decrying them, and Republicans who once wanted to criminalize every such leak suggesting that the one involving Ms. Plame wasn't so terrible,"writes the New York Sun's Josh Gerstein. LINK

Doyle McManus Noted how a complex leak investigation doesn't lend itself to easy political leverage. LINK

The New York Times' Adam Liptak look at the law on revealing the names of covert agents. Let's review: one needed utter an agent's name for an action to be covered, and it isn't up to partisans to determine who is a covered person. LINK

SCOTUS: the battle ahead: On Sunday, Peter Baker of the Washington Post wrote a very confused and confusing piece that suggested that the White House was purposefully and smartly holding back on a nominee in order to minimize the window for slings and arrows (except the piece also said that the White House was caught flat-footed and that many thought the vacuum was a bad idea). LINK

Today, Baker is back with a piece saying that outside advisers to the White House have been told to get ready for a nominee as early as this week. LINK

Todd S. Purdum of the New York Times gets on the front page with a look at the ties that bind many of the players likely to be involved in the confirmation process. LINK

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Elisabeth Bumiller's "White House Letter" in the New York Times looks at the likelihood the President will nominate a woman to replace Justice O'Connor and the meaning of the First Lady's "hint." LINK

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