Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Pie-Eyed Pickle of the Week

When the PeP comes a callin', you know you're in a pickle: Red rover, red rover, send Karl (Mission Accomplished) Rove right over! Your fingerprints are all over the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as an undercover CIA agent. But it's unlike you to be so silent, bereft of a well-thought-out rebuttal. We know you don't like to say "I made a mistake." We've read your profile in the New Yorker, so we also know that this is not the first time you've been involved in leaks.

Remember 1973: Terry Dolan, Robert Edgeworth and your bid to be the new College Republican chairman? Terry leaked a tape with your voice on it recounting "minor campaign espionage." The Washington Post published a story about the tape under the headline "GOP PROBES OFFICIAL AS TEACHER OF TRICKS." You won that election, and your opponent was kicked out of the party forever because he was affiliated with the leaking of the tape.

Now it seems that the chickens are coming home to roost. And President Bush and Scott McClellan's protracted silence only confirms that it is easier to get into a pickle than to get out of it, even for you Karl. Take note: Rumsfeld's rule(s) for doing the job in the White House is a good one: "Don't do or say things you would not like to see on the front page of The Washington Post."


xtrachromosomeconservative said...

The Rove leak story would be one I would list as a beaming example of journalistic incompetence. Scant attention has actually been paid attention to the law that has actually been broken. It should be noted that no indictments have been served under the law. The press has not addressed the question of whether Valerie Plame is actually addressed under the law. Was the CIA actively concealing her identity? If so, why did they grant her husband a waiver to publish an op-ed in the New York Times. If she was in fact a covert operative, why did she have a desk job in Langley? But even if it is clear that the disclosure of her name would be considered illegal under a narrow interpretation of the law, was Rove's correspondence with Cooper illegal. He did not disclose her name in the email that has been made publicly available. Further, if indeed he did have something to hide why did he grant a global waiver on his conversations regarding Plame going back to late 2003. I am skeptical of this entire schtick. When this story initially broke the thrust of the story centered around the underhanded and illegal tactics of the Bush administration. Once the special prosecutor started to serve up indictments against journalists, the media started into a frenzy about yet another special prosecutor had become power hungry and was abusing the law if not outright ignoring it. Now we are back at Rove. There is this herd mentality which tends to lead towards shoddy reporting and I suspect this will turn out in a manner that is reminiscent of Rathergate.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Another aspect that has not been adequately addressed is Miller's involvement in this fiasco. Ostensibly Rove is not her source. Who is her source and is it an administration source? Scooter Libby (Cheney's Chief of Staff) testified that he found out about Plame from a journalist.

Ilya said...

Oh - it only gets better! You just gotta love the effort and muddle of arguments in the Wall Street Journal's effusive praise of Rove. He "warned" Time about the "credibility" of Mr. Wilson's...argument? No. evidence against Bush's yellowcake claim? No. Wife? YES! He has a wife! And his wife works for the CIA too! Watch out! they are BOTH skeptical partisans of Bush's claims about Iraq's intentions to buy yellowcake from Niger, in Africa. The hell with Deep Throat, Rove's ad hominen attacks will go done in history as the epitome of whistleblowing and Rove's apotheosis!

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

The basic question surrounding this scandal still exist, was a law broken? Most scandals start after that question has been answered.

PiedPiper said...

But in this case, was it necessary for a law to be broken? Bill Clinton didn't break any laws when Monica pleasured him in the Oval Office, but it was the scandal of the decade. Rove, McClellan, Bush, the whole pack of them have been spinning this thing one way for two years, and now, NOW, they turn around and try to spin it another way? Somebody give us a straight story. A law does not have to be broken in order to ignite a scandal. A lie does have to be told.

On another note, I will agree with the notion of a herd mentality, which is partially due to the corporate structure that media - particularly television media - resides in. Some of the best journalism now and throughout history, though, has been done by renegade reporters. Say what you will about Sy Hersh, but you can't refute the fact that the man broke My Lai and Abu Ghraid wide open.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

valid point on breaking the law. The Clinton prosecution started off on whitewater, made its way to sexual assault allegations, and eventually he perjured on the Lewinsky bit which obviously was unrelated. Though, the two other players that nobody knows anything about yet are Miller and Novak and if Rove made a global waiver, it would seem then that Miller and possibly Novak have different sources.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

The new york times latest scoop:
"Mr. Rove has told investigators that he learned from the columnist the name of the C.I.A. officer, who was referred to by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and the circumstances in which her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, traveled to Africa to investigate possible uranium sales to Iraq, the person said.

After hearing Mr. Novak's account, the person who has been briefed on the matter said, Mr. Rove told the columnist: "I heard that, too." Do read the rest because the article goes on to maintain that it is Rove that leaked the identity and should be fired. But I have trouble with the notion the Rove was the leaker if Novak came to him with the name and role of the wife. Not to say he couldn't have perjured himself. I believe Miller and Novak hold all the cards at this point.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Sorry, here's the link:http://nytimes.com/2005/07/15/politics/15rove.html?ei=5094&en=15d2c0ff1133350b&hp=&ex=1121400000&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

I think the question that emerges, is who is going to look worse: Rove or the New York Times

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Quick waiver, this is from the Washington Times, which is owned by the Moonies, and is completely suspect. But what is interesting about this excerpt is it asks a question that the press assumed from the outset and didn't ask till Miller and Cooper were the subject of investigation- Was Plame an undercover agent. The New York Times has since taken the oh so principled stand that any reporter who had information or was complicit in the leaking of Plame's name is innocent, but Rove is guilty of this crime and has compromised National Security and should be fired. Here Goes: A former CIA covert agent who supervised Mrs. Plame early in her career yesterday took issue with her identification as an "undercover agent," saying that she worked for more than five years at the agency's headquarters in Langley and that most of her neighbors and friends knew that she was a CIA employee.
"She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat," Fred Rustmann, a covert agent from 1966 to 1990, told The Washington Times.
"Her neighbors knew this, her friends knew this, his friends knew this. A lot of blame could be put on to central cover staff and the agency because they weren't minding the store here. ... The agency never changed her cover status."
Mr. Rustmann, who spent 20 of his 24 years in the agency under "nonofficial cover" -- also known as a NOC, the same status as the wife of Mr. Wilson -- also said that she worked under extremely light cover.
In addition, Mrs. Plame hadn't been out as an NOC since 1997, when she returned from her last assignment, married Mr. Wilson and had twins, USA Today reported yesterday.
The distinction matters because a law that forbids disclosing the name of undercover CIA operatives applies to agents that had been on overseas assignment "within the last five years."
"She was home for such a long time, she went to work every day at Langley, she was in an analytical type job, she was married to a high-profile diplomat with two kids," Mr. Rustmann said. "Most people who knew Valerie and her husband, I think, would have thought that she was an overt CIA employee."
This just seems to me to be an elemental part of this story and to my knowledge, it was not investigated when this story broke.

xtrachromosomeconservative said...

Worth looking at, the amicus brief filed by "the media" on behalf of Judy Miller and Matt Cooper: http://www.bakerlaw.com/files/tbl_s10News/FileUpload44/10159/Amici%20Brief%20032305%20(Final).PDF

Anti-Everything said...

I wasn’t going to get involved in the Karl Rove discussion, not because I don’t have an opinion on it but because I thought the discussion was a rather fair portrayal of what is currently going on. But in light of some new revelations I feel that I have to chime in.

1) First off xtra you argued that “Mrs. Plame hadn't been out as a NOC since 1997”, so therefore the leak did not jeopardize national security. My answer to that would be the response that 11 former CIA agents wrote to members of Congress today. The entire letter can be viewed at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/docs/intel.officers.letter.pdf. But here is a short part of what these former CIA agents stated in regards to the current attacks that Republican officials have stated concerning Mrs. Plame’s role at the CIA (you can view the full quotes of the Republican officials at the website above):

“These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.”

“We are not lawyers and are not qualified to determine whether the leakers technically violated the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act. However, we are confident that Valerie Plame was working in a cover status and that our nation’s leaders, regardless of political party, have a duty to protect all intelligence officers. We believe it is appropriate for the President to move proactively to dismiss from office or administratively punish any official who participated in any way in revealing Valerie Plame's status. Such an act by the President would send an unambiguous message that leaks of this nature will not be tolerated and would be consistent with his duties as the Commander-in-Chief.”

“Our friends and colleagues have difficult jobs gathering the intelligence, which helps, for example, to prevent terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad. They sometimes face great personal risk and must spend long hours away from family and friends. They serve because they love this country and are committed to protecting it from threats from abroad and to defending the principles of liberty and freedom. They do not expect public acknowledgement for their work, but they do expect and deserve their government’s protection of their covert status.”

2) Secondly you argue that there is no proof that Rove (or whoever else) leaked the identity of Mrs. Plame had knowledge that she was a covert agent. This argument no longer holds water with the release of a new State Department memo which was written on June 10, 2003 (more than a month before Novak published his article) which mentions Mrs. Plame by name and has a “S” next to the sentence to make a point that this information is secret and classified. You can read the Washington Post article here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/20/AR2005072002517.html. The article states:

“A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.”

Now I am not a lawyer, nor am I familiar with the law that may or may not have been broken. But it is my argument that it really shouldn’t matter whether or not a law was broken because members of the White House staff who have top national security clearance should be held to a much higher ethical standard. I realize that many conservative supporters are arguing every single possible technicality to say that Rove didn’t break the law. But that doesn’t change the fact that Rove is very clearly one of the leaks.

Now I realize that I am not a political strategist, but you would think that the Bush administration would figure out that there is no way that they are going to be able to keep Karl Rove around and still function as anything besides a lame duck president.

A recent ABC News poll states that only 25% of Americans think that the White House is fully cooperating with the federal investigation. The poll also states that 75% of Americans think that Karl Rove should be fired If he leaked classified information. On top of this 53% of Americans are following the investigation closely (which means it won’t be going away anytime soon) and currently the president’s approval rating has dropped to 42% (the lowest of any modern second term president aside from Richard Nixon).

I am not sure if the White House is simply planning on waiting it out until his approval rating gets to be as low as Nixon’s, but one would think that getting rid of Rove would be a much better move than being a lame duck president for the next 3 ½ years.