Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rove's Achilles' Mouth

Karl Rove. The name may ring a bell if you pay attention to the news, especially these days. He is Bush's notoriously savvy top presidential aide and advisor. He also is now at the center of an investigation to find out who revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame back in 2003. Her outing is controversial because it increased security risks for her contacts in the field and, as a result, for all of us here in the U.S. who benefit from terrorists not having access to intelligence operations information.

The president has made a big deal of this leak. On June 10, 2004, Bush said he would fire anyone involved in leaking information about the identity of a CIA operative. Critics early on cast an eye in Karl Rove's direction as the leak's source. You have to go back to the time of the leak to see why.

Let's take a short walk down treason trail. (For a comprehensive stroll, Wikipedia has a more complete version of the Plame Game with all of the inconsistencies in Rove's claims. )

February 2002--Plame's husband, then ambassador Joseph Wilson and former staffer for Bush senior (he also voted for the younger Bush in 2000), was recommended for a trip to Niger to look for evidence that Iraq had attempted to acquire Uranium (for nukes) from there.

March 2002--Wilson reported that upon investigation he concluded that such an attempt was unlikely.

March 2003--Despite Wilson's report to the contrary, during his State of the Union speech Bush stated that Hussein sought Uranium from Africa. In fact, this was a key talking point in Bush's efforts to convince Americans that war in Iraq was necessary based on its possession of WMDs, a claim that we now know was false.

March 19, 2003-- Bush declares war on Iraq.

July 2003-- A disturbed Wilson wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times titled, “What I Didn't Find in Africa.” Matthew Cooper, a Time magazine reporter asked Karl Rove what he thought about Wilson's article. The reporter later reported to his superior:

Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two mins before he went on vacation ..." . Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a "big warning" not to "get too far out on Wilson." Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by "DCIA"-CIA Director George Tenet-or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, "it was, KR said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD issues who authorized the trip." (Newsweek)

A few days after Rove spoke with Cooper, conservative columnist Robert Novak mentioned Plame as the CIA operative in a column. (Rove would later say that he learned that Plame was the operative only after Novak published the name, which is, of course, not true given what we know about the timing of his talk witih Cooper. To maintain his "boy genius-turd blossom" status Rove is going to have to look a little more closely at his calendar and as far as I'm concerned be a few years younger than he is.)

If one looks past the smokescreen of “authorization” (Plame notified CIA staff that her husband was available and qualified for such a mission, but it is doubtful she was in a position to authorize him), the “…Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency…” line sort of stands out. Rove's tactic here is typical and is, in fact, pretty brilliant--discredit Wilson then punish him and his family for whistle blowing, all by appearing to shelter the reporter.

Scott McClellan, the White House Press Secretary has said all along that when asked, Rove denied identifying Plame. That is until last week when it was brought to light that Rove outed Plame after all.

Now Rove is saying that he gave the reporter the information that Wilson's wife was with the CIA but not her name. This defense might have flown in Biblical times when “traditional marriage” frequently involved several wives, but we're talking about 21st century America and Wilson has only one.

Ironically, all of Rove's defense strategies sound very Clintonian. Remember when Clinton tried to say that he didn't have “sex with that woman” because intercourse was not part of the deal? Or that he didn't smoke pot because he “didn't inhale”? Nobody bought that either. The difference of course is that Clinton's errors didn't make your life and mine more vulnerable to terrorist threats!

The press hates being misled, which is why they were so hot to get Clinton for his caginess about Monica. Let's hope that they show at least as much tenacity now that security risks are involved. If this video of the networks grilling McClellan is any indicator, we may all be in for a treat. (WH bullseye/press secretary is currently plummeting down the list of desirable careers)

Despite his unbelievably selfish ambition, Rove is no dummy. He may avoid being sentenced for breaking the law because his communications, at least with the Time reporter, make it difficult to prove malicious intent, despite the convenient timing of the leak so soon after Wilson's damaging report about faulty WMD information.

Will Bush work to protect Rove's lie(s) or to protect the truth? Granted, Bush wouldn't recognize the truth if it were lying in a small white line on a mirror at the end of a straw, but will he throw our nation's safety concerns to the wind (again!) in order to protect an aide who is a known security risk? Or will he keep to his June 10, 2004 promise to fire any staffers who might have leaked Plame's identity? Based on what is known, if Bush doesn't fire Rove we'll at least have evidence that Karl and Emperor Palpatine are indeed one in the same.

Perhaps Bush should call Bush senior for advice on firing Rove. H. W. Bush had to fire Rove during his campaign back in 1992. Why? For leaking sensitive information to Robert Novak of all people. Somebody call the plumber already! Rove is too busy flapping his gums to save his ass or to help the president save ours.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the timeline of the events. I find this whole situation very frightening because while this administration argues we are spreading democracy--with its free speech and freedom of the press--around the world, it does not seem they are protecting it here at home if it disagrees with their policies. I would urge anyone who reads your blog (and my comments) to call, write, or e-mail their senators and representatives to encourage them to fully pursue this investigation and not sweep it under the rug as we seem to have done with everything else, i.e. no weapons of mass destruction, the Downing Street Memo, etc. I would be lying to say I'm not slightly biased against the Bush administration, but I feel like my fears and frustrations are not about my liberal leaning politics. If Rove did reveal the name of a covert operative to get back at her husband, this is a HUGE problem for our national security and no more benign than the Nixon people breaking into the DNC headquarters.

9:08 AM  
Blogger Troy said...

It is amazing what this administration will ignore. I take some comfort in the fact that every time someone reads a column or article on this Rove story, they are reminded of Wilson's initial discovery--that one of Bush's major premises for going to war was false. We know the others were as well, but the WMD was a big one.

The day when people wake up to the fact that they were duped into this unnecessary war will be very sad. It doesn't surprise me that it is slow in coming because a lot of parents, wives, husbands and children will have a lot of anger to deal with. And no one in the administration who talked people into supporting the war will want to be around when that powder keg blows.

8:52 PM  

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