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Pearlstine's Plame Book Blames Everyone

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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BLAME-FREE PRESS Pearlstine

Former Time poobah Norman Pearlstine's new book about his role in the Valerie Plame scandal is titled Off the Record, but don't be misled: he devotes most of his time to naming names, mouthing off about his enemies, and firing back at those who criticized his cooperation with federal prosecutors.

In a rare moment of introspection about Time reporter Matt Cooper, Pearlstine concedes, "None of his editors, including this one, provided adequate guidance." But mostly, Pearlstine sticks to a valuable lesson clearly learned during his time in the corporate corner office: Blame your underlings. Pearlstine faults Cooper and his fellow reporter Viveca Novak for forcing the company's hand with U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in the case.

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And although he calls Cooper a "stand-up guy," Pearlstine says he botched his sources. "He was less than perfectly discreet after he got Karl Rove on the phone on Friday, July 11, 2003, to talk about Plame," Pearlstine says—Cooper e-mailed his bureau chief Michael Duffy and deputy Jay Carney about the conversation with Bush's brain. Six days later, "more than two dozen Time Inc. employees ... had had access to e-mails in which Matt had named Rove as his source."

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