Sunday, July 17, 2005

NBC's "Meet The Press-ure"

What a show it was this morning. Tim Russert, host of Meet The Press, trying to get a straight answer out of RNC chair Ken Mehlman. He'd have had an easier time getting Dick Cheney to say there was never any WMD in Iraq. Discussing the Karl Rove saga, Mehlman went head to head with ex-Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress. As painful as it is to watch Mehlman speak (and believe me, nothing makes me want to throw my shoe at my beloved 56" projection TV more than seeing Mehlman's lips moving on it), ya gotta give him credit. He does his job quite well. Of course, that is if his job is to lie through his teeth and robotically offer up the day's talking points instead. What we were treated to this morning from Mehlman was the new Right Wing script: that the information that came out this past week about the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name actually "exonerates and vindicates Rove, not implicates him." As if this wasn't either delusional and/or arrogant enough, Mehlman went on to say that those Democrats who've been "smearing" Rove these past few weeks now "owe him an apology." And while he repeatedly said that he has 100% confidence in special prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald, he repeatedly ducked when Russert directly asked if he'd then respect and accept--without publicly criticizing--an indictment of Rove if that's what's handed up by Fitzgerald's federal grand jury which is investigating the Plame leak. Sure, he has 100% confidence in a guy who he will publicly rip to shreds if he doesn't like the outcome. Also on Meet the Press this morning was Time reporter Matt Cooper, who repeated what he told the grand jury last week (and which will be the focus of Time's cover story tomorrow) that he first learned that Plame was a CIA operative from Rove. This without question directly contradicts what Rove told Press Secretary Scott McClellan back in 2003, and which McClellan then told reporters at a White House briefing, that neither Rove, VP Dick Cheney, or Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby had anything to do with the outing of Plame. Not just a direct contradiction, mind you, but it shows Rove out and out lied. Next, Rove is in apparent violation of the Non-Disclosure Agreement he's required to sign as someone with classified clearance. Conservative columnist Robert Novak, at the center of this scandal because of his 7/14/03 column which named Plame by name, sought confirmation from Rove that Plame was in fact a CIA agent and had authorized her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson's, trip to Africa in February 2002 to investigate claims that Iraq was seeking to purchase Uranium Yellowcake from Niger for use in making WMD (a claim which Wilson concluded, and wrote in his July '03 NY Times Op-ed piece, was not factual. That started the GOP smear campaign against Wilson and the revenge taken on his wife). Rove replied to Novak, "Yeah, I heard that too." Well, on page 77 of the Briefing Booklet Classified Information (known as SF 312), it clearly states that Before confirming the accuracy of what appears in the public source, the signer of SF 312 must confirm through an authorized officer that the information has, in fact, been declassified. If it has not, further dissemination of the information or confirmation of its accuracy is also an unauthorized disclosure. It was Rove's duty to not acknowledge to Novak that he knew what Novak was telling him. By confirming this, he violated the covenants he took as a top security official. That, coupled with his '03 lie to McClellan about not having anything to do with the leak, is obvious grounds for his firing. This is what President Bush told reporters on September 30, 2003: "Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of." Let's see if Bush keeps his promise. Andy

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