Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Whatever Rove Did, Truth Will Take a Backseat

Karl Rove might be the White House staffer who illegally revealed the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. While there is currently only the slimmest of evidence that this might be true, just the suggestion that Rove was involved ensures that truth will be bludgeoned as this plays out in the public sphere.

The left already thinks Rove is a despicable human being and will believe this rumor to be full truth—any evidence that Rove wasn’t involved will be treated as intentional obfuscation and further proof that the Bush administration is dangerously deceptive. The right, on the other hand, has every reason to want to keep Rove out of jail and will thus portray this story as evidence of deep set media bias and just one more unhinged and unpatriotic attempt by the left to bring down the Bush White House.

As for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if Rove was involved—I’ve never found political consultants of any stripe to be particularly ethical. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t involved or if there is not enough evidence to indict. The fact of the matter is, while it was illegal to reveal that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent, that revelation didn’t cause her to be obviously harmed. And while, from a legal standpoint, it shouldn’t matter if she was harmed or not, it will matter in how this plays out among most Americans.

Unfortunately, prevailing opinion might be "no harm, no foul" and this could lead the story to gain little traction, particularly since it will be overshadowed by the Supreme Court battle. Outing an undercover agent does in fact create harm, most often harm the public never hears about because such operations are highly secretive. There is no excuse for what was done to Ms. Plame and the culprit who revealed her identity should be punished. But there hasn't been an uprising in public interest in this case, and even with Rove's name being thrown around, there still might be too little attention paid to it.

I could be wrong. But if it does get plenty of attention, don’t expect plenty of truth from the pundits and partisans. Neither side will have much interest in that.


At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm puzzled by the light way in which you seem to be taking of the exposure of an undercover agent: "The fact of the matter is, while it was illegal to reveal that Valerie Plame was an undercover agent, that revelation didn’t cause her to be harmed."

Didn't it end her ability to operate undercover, to continue the tasks that she had developed expert skills for? Isn't that a "harm" to her ? And isn't it also a harm to the work she was doing for our country?

Didn't exposing her also expose the business cover she was operating under? Didn't it place the other "employees" of that business & the persons she was receiving information from in danger, in fear for their lives? Would we ever know if someone(s) were killed as a result of her exposure?

Help me out, here.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger driveindead said...

the fact that a cia noc's career was winding down is a different fact than saying it was over anyways... if it was over anyways why is this investigation even going on? Prosecutor Fitzgerald doesn't seem to think there was no harm in this foul... don't forget these are all Repiglicans running this investigation. The prosecutor seems to think a crime was committed.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Actually, I'm rather aghast that someone would expose a CIA agent for any reason but particularly for the alleged reason in this case (as political retribution against the agent's husband). My point wasn't that I take it a lightly but that I think many others have taken it lightly and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, the press is treating this story as a "freedom of the press" case first and foremost and the parties are going to, I think, treat it as an unconditionally condemn or unconditionally support Rove case. That's too bad.

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only could it have lead to the death of her and many other operatives. More importantly it highlights that the rightwing is not really patriotic, as they claim to be.. but instead a bunch of power hungry lying thugs.

At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Natty Bowditch said...

Let's assume for a moment Rove didn't out an undercover intelligence agent.

We do know--at least Rove claims it to be true--that he did circulate Ms. Plame's identity in an effort to discredit her husband after Plame had been exposed in the famous Novak column.

Doesn't that appear a bit more than unseemly to you?

WRT "no harm, no foul," you couldn't be more wrong. The fact s we don't what sources and operations were compromised as a result of outting Ms. Plame. But consider this: let's suppose some foreign asset is deciding whether to approach the US with info of a highly sensitive nature; info that's so sensitive it may result in great personal danger to that asset. Would not the fact the highest levels of the US Govt. are apparently disclosing undercover sources for political gain/advantage weigh heavily in such a decision?

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

who had motive douche bag

At 12:12 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

No harm. No foul. Untrue, of course, but likely to be the prevailing opinion.

That phrasing seems to be causing some to think my opinion is that there was "no harm, no foul" when what I meant is that other people might think that. I say such reaosning is "untrue."

Nevertheless, I am going to edit the phrase so as to prevent confussion among future readers.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

A note to readers: I have edited this story to make it clear that I in fact think the outing of a CIA opperative is a serious matter. My intent of this piece is to highlight how the story might play out, not to say the story is unimportant.

Thank you.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger IXis9 said...

I think the reason the media is laying low has something to do with "Rathergate". Once bitten twice shy. I can see their point. Outrage would be nice but it has been used against those opposed to Rovian methods in the past. while they were wiping the egg off their collective faces Bush was winning the election.
They are just getting all their ducks in a row.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

I think at this moment, no one knows what part in this Rove has had, one way or the other. As far as the media goes-- For once they aren’t running a story on speculation as so many will do these days in the Blogs. We all need to wait for the facts to come out, (in the next day or two) and then run with it. Anything else said right now is just guess work and serves no purpose for either side......

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

I've actually been having a little fun with this story since it first flittered in a couple of days ago. I make sure to start each of my posts with a disclaimer that no proof currently exists that point directly to Rove. However, my question is, if it does indeed turn out to be Rove and he is charged, what will Bush do? This is of course for pure speculation. If Bush pardons Rove, what light would that shine on the President? If he doesn't pardon Rove, what might Rove say to prosecutors in an attempt to broker a deal? Also, what will party loyalists say? Will they condone a treasonous act?

The Espionage Act: This law denies the airing of "classified material" that could damage national security.

The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of
: This law was enacted because of double agent Philip Agee's publication of some CIA agents' real names.

I'm sorry if my speculation game infringes on anyone's sensibilities, but Rove has been such a tempestuous individual, that a little frivolity at his expense seems appropriate.

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think at this moment, no one knows what part in this Rove has had, one way or the other.

Not quite true. We do know Rove did circulate the fact Ms. Plame was a CIA agent in order to smear her husband.

That is from Karl Rove--unless, of course, he's lying.

We also know the leak came from "senior administration officials."

At 8:52 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Nope... We don't-- He didn't.....

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:40 PM, Blogger Adm. Happy Horatio Hornhonker said...

Small fish to fry that Rove . . .

Now that some of you folks are beginning to come out of the 3-Day weekend stupor – maybe you’d be interested in information about the Wilson/Plame affair that goes a bit deeper into the earlier darker recesses of the affair than Rove’s later involvement. Although, it all does tie in.

I really respect investigative individuals who’ll stick to the trail like a big ol’ hound on a trail for dinner . . . .

: I've gotten hints or suggestions from
: several sources over the last month that
: new information is bubbling to the surface,
: not about who leaked Valerie
: Plame's identity
, but who was
: behind the underlying caper that started the
: whole drama afoot in the first place: those
: phoney Niger uranium documents.
: As longtime readers of this site know, last
: year colleagues of mine and I were able to
: trace the documents back to a former Italian
: intelligence agent named Rocco Martino.
: Martino was the 'Italian businessman' who
: tried to sell the documents to Elizabetta Burba
: the journalist who eventually brought them
: to the US Embassy in Rome.
: We were able determine that the documents
: had been put into Martino's hands by a then-
: serving member of SISMI -- Italian military
: intelligence. And this SISMI colonel had done
: so using a women working in the Niger
: embassy in Rome, an Italian national, as a
: cut-out.

: This was, as you might imagine, more than
: enough to make us want to know a lot more.
: But we were never able to develop any
: conclusive proof about who or what was
: behind the SISMI colonel or what the
: backstory was within SISMI. Suspicions,
: we had plenty. But in terms of hard facts,
: we hit a wall just inside SISMI. Just who
: forged the documents? And, more
: significantly, who put the whole process in
: motion? And why had SISMI or elements
within it involved themselves? -- Josh Marshall

Also: Just to jiggle the old hard-drive – keep in mind the following exchange that went down on September 11, 2001.

: ”'The president dragged me into a room
: with a couple of other people, shut the door,
: and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did
: this.' Now he never said, 'Make it up.’
: But the entire conversation left me in
: absolutely no doubt that
: George Bush wanted me to come back with a
: report that said Iraq did this
: 'I said, 'Mr. President. We've done this before.
: We have been looking at this. We looked at it
: with an open mind. There's no connection.'

: 'He came back at me and said, 'Iraq! Saddam!
: Find out if there's a connection.' And in a very
: intimidating way. I mean that we should
: come back with that answer
. We wrote
: a report.'"

From: Clarke's Take On Terror w/ Leslie Stahl

None of this is going to go away no matter how hard one fries to deny the obvious.


At 6:12 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Apparently the source for the statements Rove made to the FBI is here, in the American Prospect. I couldn't find any other mention of him admitting to spreading her name after it came out in Novak's column. If true, however, it seems to me the fact that she was already 'ousted' by Novak doesn't relieve him of his responsibility to keep his mouth shut about it. He still revealed to others and confirmed that she was CIA, and therefore still broke the law.

An interesting note: In court papers, Fitzgerald said the source of Matthew Cooper of Time magazine and Judith Miller of The New York Times has waived confidentiality, giving the reporters permission to reveal where they got their information.

If they told the grand jury that they waived confidentiality, yet the reporters are still not talking, then it seems they lied in their testimony about telling the reporters it's okay to speak up. That, in itself, is another felony, and Fitzgerald shouldn't have any trouble making the case there.

At 2:04 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...


I have to ask . . . how can you state with such authority that Rove didn't have anything to do with this? Do you know the man personally? Or are you simply so loyal to the administration that you can't bring yourself to see that any of them could do anything wrong? Whether it was Rove or not, it was, without a doubt, someone in the Bush White House . . . unless of course, you choose to believe that these reporters just guessed at Mrs. Plame's occupation.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

I said no one knows… That means me too!!!!

At 1:05 AM, Blogger Adm. Happy Horatio Hornhonker said...

Hey Aubrey

. . . but the Shadow knows.


Above in this thread Ted Carmichael had left a post with this in it:

"If they told the grand jury that they waived
confidentiality, yet the reporters are still
not talking, then it seems they lied in their
testimony about telling the reporters it's
okay to speak up. That, in itself, is another
felony, and Fitzgerald shouldn't have any
trouble making the case there."

Each individual who has been deposed and or questioned by the Special Prosecutor were given a waiver to sign waiving their right to confidentiality. It is and was the opinion of both Miller and Cooper that those waivers are not binding due to the fact that they are mandatory for an individual to sign. And that the waiver is not made by the free will of the source. Hope you understand that.

Today Miller apparently did not receive a waiver of confidentiality from her source, or at least her attorneys did not mention it today, thereby she is now in lock up. Although, apparently Cooper did receive a last minute waiver from his source. At least that is what Cooper stated himself in his own words after the court proceedings today.

All this about waivers and their right to protect their sources is a moot point. In a Federal Grand Jury there is no right to remain silent as to your source. That was established in 1972 and only the Supreme Court "can limit or distinguish" its controlling 1972 ruling in Branzburg v. Hayes as it applies to the facts relating to Miller and Cooper.

See: http://www.thisnation.com/library/branzburg.html

So whoever the source was that stated they had signed a waiver have done nothing felonious in this particular portion of their testimony.

I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.

Some states have established "Shield Laws" but at the Federal level news people do not have a shield.


At 5:56 AM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Thanks for that, Jonah. I had thought the sources testified that they waived confidentiality. Knowing now that they were forced to, I wouldn't accept it either.

BTW - Does the fifth amendment protection against self-incrimination apply to grand jury testimony?


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