'60 Minutes' at It Again with Rove/Siegelman Story?

February 28th, 2008 6:29 PM

Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft shares the news of another possible election year meltdown at CBS News.

"60 Minutes" recently aired the claim that former Alabama governor Don Siegelman went to jail not for corruption, but because he belong to the wrong political party, and that the investigations that landed him in jail for bribery were politically motivated.

One of the most explosive claims made was that Karl Rove was involved in an attempt to entrap Siegelman:

Now a Republican lawyer from Alabama, Jill Simpson, has come forward to claim that the Siegelman prosecution was part of a five-year secret campaign to ruin the governor. Simpson told 60 Minutes she did what's called "opposition research" for the Republican party. She says during a meeting in 2001, Karl Rove, President Bush's senior political advisor, asked her to try to catch Siegelman cheating on his wife.

"Karl Rove asked you to take pictures of Siegelman?" Pelley asks.

"Yes," Simpson replies.

"In a compromising, sexual position with one of his aides," Pelley clarifies.

"Yes, if I could," Simpson says.

She says she spied on Siegelman for months but saw nothing. Even though she was working as a Republican campaign operative, Simpson says she wanted to talk to 60 Minutes because Siegelman's prison sentence bothers her conscience.

Simpson says she wasn't surprised that Rove made this request. Asked why not, she tells Pelley, "I had had other requests for intelligence before."

"From Karl Rove?" Pelley asks.

"Yes," Simpson says.

Today's Birmingham News has Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) the chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, asking CBS News to either provide evidence of the charges, or publish a retraction.

"Only the most committed anti-Rove/Bush activist could swallow such a tale," party chairman Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, wrote in the letter to "60 Minutes."

"If you are unable to publicly produce hard and convincing evidence that backs the outrageous charges you aired to millions of viewers across the nation, I ask that you publicly retract the story on your next broadcast."

Gateway Pundit has posted the full contents of Hubbard's letter.

Rove has specifically denied the story, stating:

"It never happened," Rove said in a telephone interview. "Seeing where I was working at the time, a reasonable person could ask why I would even take an interest in that case."

CBS News seems to have a lot to prove in this case to avoid a retraction, including:

  • Proof that Jill Simpson ever worked with the Alabama Republican Party beyond simply being a volunteer, seemingly the easiest fact to verify or disprove.
  • Proof that Simpson ever did "opposition research" for the Alabama Republican Party and Karl Rove.
  • Proof that Simpson had been in contact with Rove.
  • Proof that Rove asked Simpson to take compromising photographs of Don Siegelman

If CBS News can substantiate these charges, then the long-held liberal dream of bring Karl Rove up on charges for something could possibly occur.

If CBS News and "60 Minutes" cannot substantiate the claim, then they are in the position of now having published a second false presidential election year story (Rathergate's forged documents prior to the 2004 election being the first), and the network's reputation in general and "60 Minutes" reputation in specific will be heavily tarnished.

Frankly, I doubt that "60 Minutes" would risk running this story without having vetted Simpson to the best of their ability, so I would be surprised if they cannot quickly prove some sort of involvement by Simpson in the Alabama Republican Party beyond volunteer level. If they can't do that, they are toast—fully discredited as a news organization, in my opinion.

The stickier point is proving her explosive charge that Rove told her that he wanted her to catch Siegelman having an affair. That seems like it will be very difficult to prove, and if she cannot prove it, then the "60 Minutes" story never should have run.

Stay tuned, folks... however it breaks it promise to be very interesting.

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.