Monday, July 11, 2005

Chief Bush Operative Karl Rove at it Again

Newsweek magazine reports today that Karl Rove, Bush's top advisor and trusted ally, indeed discussed former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, CIA covert operative Valerie Plame, with Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in 2003. It is illegal to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA agent. Wilson, at the recommendation of his wife to her superiors, traveled to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that the Iraqis were shopping for uranium. In a July 6, 2003 NY Times Op-ed piece, Wilson stated his findings that Iraq had not purchased the materials. Just eight days later, on July 14, syndicated conservative columnist Robert Novak broke the story about Plame, citing two senior administration officials as his source. Was this outing of Plame payback by an angry Bush White House that felt betrayed and/or frustrated with Wilson's lack of kool-aid-drinking concerning Iraq's purported weapons programs? Did it undermine the administration's justification for war? You bet. For the past two years there's been an investigation into this treasonous leak, headed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, to determine whether or not it came from the Bushies in an effort to discredit Wilson after he publicly contradicted the president's claims about Iraq's WMD. Both Cooper and NY Times reporter Judith Miller were required by a federal grand jury to turn over their notes relating to this story. Miller refused and has been sentenced to jail. Cooper saw the light and acquiesced. The Newsweek story reports that just days before Novak's column was published, Cooper sent his boss an email describing his conversation with Rove: "it was, KR said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd (weapons of mass destruction) issues who authorized the trip.". Now while Rove may not have specifically mentioned Plame by name (wink, wink), his intent was clear, and the damage was done. It would subsequently be quite easy for a reporter to obtain and verify her actual identity. Furthermore, this discussion with Cooper also directly allegedly contradicts earlier statements Rove gave the grand jury, and those his attorney Robert Luskin gave to the press, denying any involvement in this case, or having had any conversations with reporters about it. Rove has had quite a checkered past in terms of questionable, unethical and/or illegal political tactics. It would surprise and shock no one if it's soon determined that he was the secret source of the outing. If true, he may finally face the music. His firing may not be enough. Acts of treason, as the outing of Valerie Plame is, should be properly prosecuted, and he should be jailed. This administration needs to learn a very valuable lesson: that it's not above the law, nor can it manipulate the law to further its extremist agenda. Andy

No comments: