"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Leaky Karl

My Republican credentials are displayed shinily on my sleeve. I like George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh and that pre-diet-Limbaugh-lookalike, Karl Rove.

But it seems clear right now that Rove was the source who tipped the Press to the identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame as part of a political effort to discredit her husband, Mr. Ambassador Wilson.

Wagons are being circled by loyal Republican "Guards". They'll do just fine, I suspect, without my company.

Count me out, I say. I'm not in favor of this type of dishonest clandestine back-stabbing manipulation of political stories, and I'll throw Karl Rove under the bus just as fast as I would Sidney Blumenthal.

It's dirty; we don't need to do that to win, and even if we did need it, that would not be sufficient justification. Throw the bum out.

33 comments:

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Where do you draw the "dirty" line, Mr. Homnick?

E.B. Crow said...

LA is right (theoretically, at least, if not politically). Now that I have gotten over the shock of agreeing with LA, I will continue.

Politics is inherently filled with abuse. Confronted with either gaining or maintaining power, people will do just about anything. Nixon and Clinton are two recent examples of Presidents who had no shame in abusing the system to maintain their status quo. One surrendered, the other did not.

I am disappointed in Rove, but I am not surprised.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Confronted with either gaining or maintaining power, people will do just about anything.

How about: Those who will do anything to gain or maintain power win out over those who will not.

I think this provides a suitable, if meaningless, explanation for most of world history.

S. T. Karnick said...

If Rove did this, it is a criminal act. Bush cannot hope to save him, short of a presidential pardon, nor should he in any case.

Hunter Baker said...

I'm in the group that doesn't see the big deal. If Rove simply told a reporter that Wilson's wife (who happened to be in the CIA) helped arrange for his assignment, where is the criminality, particularly if she was not an undercover operative or was past the undercover period of her career.

My temptation would be to hunker down and let it pass. I don't think the public cares. If someone would like to spell out the seriousness of the ethical lapse here, I'm willing to come over to your side.

S. T. Karnick said...

Isn't it against the law to identify a covert CIA agent in another country, and isn't that what Rove did? If that is not what happened, I can see the sense in Bush riding it out, as what Rove did may have been mean but not criminal.

James Elliott said...

OK, so, here goes: There is a law that says it is illegal to expose the identity of a CIA agent.

Ms. Plame, before her "outing," ran a network of informants for the CIA. Her status as wife to an important U.S. official, Ambassador Joe Wilson, allowed her to travel and do so. That she was his wife was not a secret. Her name was not a secret. Who she worked for, however, was.

Now, in order to discredit Ambassador Wilson for daring to disagree with the President, someone in the Administration, whom we can now be reasonably certain was Mr. Rove, tried to shrug off Wilson's Niger trip as a "junket" arranged by his wife, who worked at the CIA. This effectively blows Plame's cover. All of a sudden, anyone reading a newspaper knows that Wilson's wife works at CIA.

Now, legally, as I understand the statute, Rove is covered. He never "knowingly" (as Luskin is saying) outed a CIA agent (after all, not everyone who works at CIA is an agent), and he did not have the clearance to know her real job.

Ethically, however, Rove is the bacteria that pond scum feeds upon. In a time where his President has declared a national security crisis, Rove's actions have harmed a national security asset. Namely, all of Plame's informants were placed at risk by her outing, as well as the fact that the network was thrown into turmoil by her abrupt departure.

Rove allowed politics to trump the needs of security. Never mind that the politics were "dirty pool" to begin with. Now, I am not one of those liberals who tosses around "treason" with regards to Rove, but at the very least, the President should stick to his publicly given word to fire the person who leaked Plame's name. Rove, being the good Republican soldier he is, should just resign. I'm sure he will arise, G. Gordon Liddy-like, from the ashes of his disgrace. His and Oliver North's felony convictions don't appear to have harmed their reputations one iota when it comes to the Right.

More importantly, however, is that there is another fish to fry. Rove's security clearance could not have allowed him to know that Plame worked for the CIA. Someone had to tell him, knowing what he was going to do with that information. That person did violate the statute, and needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. My understanding is that the two top contenders for this spot are Cheney and Tenet.

My guess is that Tenet will fall on his sword. After all, Bush can't fire him after he's resigned, and he'll just be pardoned if he's convicted.

James Elliott said...

I should point out that if it is revealed that Rove knew A) The details of Plame's job or B) That knowledge that she worked for CIA was not for public consumption, then the statute will apply.

Tlaloc said...

There may be more to the story than even that JE. Remember the Judith Miller is also on the hook here, but here's where it gets interesting: she may be on the hook for telling the government, not for being told.

What would that mean? Well for starters it'd mean her journalistic martyrdom is nothing of the sort, rather it's a dodge to avoid finding herself on the line for a felony.

But how would it work? As said Rove may not have had access to determine Plame's wife was an undercover agent. Miller however was adirect mouthpiece for someone who has been very well connected to the military aparatus: Ahmed Chalabi.

So ponder this, Chalabi is pissed that Wilson is shooting down Bush's phoney rationale for war. He knows who Wilson's wife is either through his connectionsat the DoD or though his own connections to the various Arab institutions. He whispers in Miller's ear. Miller, the good little automaton that she is goes and lets rove know. Rove then spreads it to Novak.

It's conjecture, certainly not proven. But doesn't it make a pretty picture?

Tlaloc said...

"I like George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh and that pre-diet-Limbaugh-lookalike, Karl Rove."

While I appreciate that you don't defend Rove's outing of a CIA agent I'm a little confused. You say that you don't like dirty backstabbing politics but what else has Rove ever done? He's the king of whisper campaigns. Always alleging that his opponent is gay, a communist, or both. He attacked McCain by claiming that his years in Viet Cong custody had broken him and turned him against america. He attacked Max Cleland's patriotism, a man who now sits in a wheelchair from injuries sustained in uniform. The man is scum, willing to do anything, literally anything, to win an election. It's not life and death to him, it's only a game. And cheating has always been his prefered method.

Tlaloc said...

"How about: Those who will do anything to gain or maintain power win out over those who will not."

Precisely why I'm an anarchist. All power structures exist to be abused by the unscupulous.

E.B. Crow said...

If anarchists were to prevail and anarchy were take hold, would the new anarchist be the ones who strove to build order and the rule of law?

Can an anarchist also be considered an insurgent?

Jay D. Homnick said...

I am with Mr. Elliott on this one. (Will I get thrown off the Republican "team", do you think, in a dark ceremony at the RNC?)

James Elliott said...

As far as I'm concerned, it's merely an indication that there might be some hope for the Republican party yet.

Hunter Baker said...

If Mr. Elliott's summary is correct, I'm still not sure where to stand. Rove could have been quite innocent in the leak. If he didn't know Plame was an agent and merely asserted that she worked for the CIA and had arranged Wilson's trip, then he's just working to undermine a political opponent, which is completely legit.

The Liberal Anonymous said...

I'm under the impression that her employment with the CIA was a secret. She publically worked for a CIA front company.

James Elliott said...

So then you admit that the case to go to war in Iraq was entirely politicized?

James Elliott said...

Furthermore, are you saying that Rove is ethically covered from the responsibilities of his actions? Ignorance has never been a defence in law or ethics.

Are you also saying that President Bush should go back on his word to the public to fire whoever leaked Plame's name to the press?

Tom Van Dyke said...

As near as I can piece it together, it went down something like this. Wilson uses his inside info to try to discredit the administration. Rove gets on the phone with a few reporters and says essentially this:

"This Wilson guy's a twat. We send him over to Niger on a matter of national security, and he sits around a five-star hotel's pool drinking mai-tais for a few days. Now he's back mouthing off in the papers like some sort of expert.

Look, we only hired him because his wife's in the government someplace and recommended him. But don't take my word for it, and don't use my name. Check around with some of your other sources, it's common knowledge."

The Liberal Anonymous said...

Wilson uses his inside info to try to discredit the administration.

He pointed out that the administration was using evidence that it knew to be false in order to support its policies. The administration was discredited by its own lies, not by the man who revealed them.

Tlaloc said...

"If anarchists were to prevail and anarchy were take hold, would the new anarchist be the ones who strove to build order and the rule of law"

No but they could be the new rebels. Anarchism means "without leaders" or "without authority," not just "against the status quo."



"Can an anarchist also be considered an insurgent?"

Sure, and there are anarchists who are terrorists. Although to be clear most of the people you see on TV as "anarchists" are nothing of the kind. Chaosist would be a more fitting term.

Tlaloc said...

"As far as I'm concerned, it's merely an indication that there might be some hope for the Republican party yet."

Indeed. If the paleo-cons can actually wrestle control away from the neo- and theo-cons that'd be very good for both them and america in general.

Hunter Baker said...

Tlaloc baby, you don't want the paleocons. You'd like them much less than the neos, I suspect.

mdvoutlook.com said...

This is all quite disturbing. What I mean is that some conservatives are ready to jump on the Karl Rove is a sniviling backstabing poltical hack who is guilty, guilty, guilty as charged bandwagon. When the media and Democrats form a lynch mob to go after a conservative I will susbend belief for a very, very long time. If you haven't read it, Byron York at NRO lays out a very convincing case that the initial post and this thread is most premature. The URL: http://www.nationalreview.com/york/
york200507121626.asp
I side with York. Why are some conservatives so quick to side with the liberal/media/Democrat talking points that the administration is out to destroy anybody who disagrees with them. Let's get the facts straight before we grab the ropes.

Kathy Hutchins said...

The Cooper story is not the one which publicized Plame's identity. (I'm not going to say "blew her cover" because half of friggin' Georgetown knew where she worked before Novak wrote word one.) Therefore, we are not going to know anything for real until Novak talks about his grand jury testimony or Fitzgerald's findings become public. I also want to know who Judith Miller's protecting. It sure ain't Rove.

Yeah, if Rove did what everyone's saying he did, he's slime. But I think everyone's saying a lot more that the known facts support right now.

Tlaloc said...

"Tlaloc baby, you don't want the paleocons. You'd like them much less than the neos, I suspect."

I can respect the paleo-con ideals of limited government and fiscal responsibility. I do certainly disagree with some of the lengths they take these ideas to and their swooning love of the military is unsightly but still they are by far the most tolerable of the three branches of the modern GOP (not considering libertarians to be part of the GOP).

Tlaloc said...

"When the media and Democrats form a lynch mob to go after a conservative I will susbend belief for a very, very long time."

When bush promises to fire someone for something do you also suspend disbelief? Whether Rove committed a crime is very much in question but that's based on the kind of semantics that republicans claimed to despise when clinton said them. What is not in dispute is that Rove and the Whitehouse have lied to the american people about his involvement.

Tlaloc said...

"Yeah, if Rove did what everyone's saying he did, he's slime."

He's slime regardless. Anyone who spreads rumors that a political opponent is a pedophile just to win a race is the very definition of slime. The question is whether republicans will be forced to admit it after he violated national security an our ability to keep WMD out of the hands of terrorists in order to make up a war that claimed to be all about those very ideas.

KeithM, Indy said...

Bush said he would fire anyone who leaked classified information. It is not apparent or provable at the moment, that Rove leaked classified information. The Press Secretary has only said that Rove told him he wasn't involved in leaking classified information.

The source of Roves knowledge is also in question. From press accounts his knowledge came from DC reporters, not classified information. Which would be the reason his contacts with reporters is being gone through.

Also not clear is whether Plame was currently a covert CIA operative. She had been in the past, but after Aldrich Ames outed her to the Soviets, she was brought back home.

Miller isn't in jail to protect Rove, that much is certain. So who she is protecting must be of greater importance in the leaking then Rove.

So, before jumping on any bandwagon, maybe we should wait until the facts come out, and not follow the MSM/Democrat talking points.

Tlaloc said...

"Bush said he would fire anyone who leaked classified information. It is not apparent or provable at the moment, that Rove leaked classified information."

Yes it is.


"The source of Roves knowledge is also in question."

That's germain to the question of if it's a crime but either way he leaked classified info.



"Also not clear is whether Plame was currently a covert CIA operative."

No it's not except to the spin masters.
"Four separate ex-CIA employees are now on the record saying Plame was undercover and ran a network of informants, and a fifth who knew Wilson and had 24 years at the Agency says he didn't know Plame worked there — which means her status was hardly common knowledge."
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2003_10/002318.php
(from all the way back in 2003 when this lie came up the first time.)



"So, before jumping on any bandwagon, maybe we should wait until the facts come out, and not follow the MSM/Democrat talking points."

So I guess republicans can stop claiming to be the party that takes national defense seriously then.

Tlaloc said...

the link got truncated here it is in full and it links to the various accounts itself:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/
individual/2003_10/002318.php

KeithM, Indy said...

Your assertions haven't proved anything.

All the ex-CIA employees knowledge asserts is that Plame worked as a covert CIA operative at some point.

What is germane to the current controversy is whether or not she was a covert CIA operative in the 5 years prior to her being "outed" as working for the CIA.

Anonymous said...

Guess this two-year investigation was all for nothing then. Somebody ought to tell the investigators.