Monday, July 11, 2005

'Bush's Brain' a Captive Mind?

(With apologies to Czeslaw Milosz.)

In a revelation that should surprise no one, Bush advisor Karl Rove has been named as one of Matthew Cooper's sources in the grand jury investigation of who leaked the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. According to his lawyer, Rove leaked Plame's identity, but did not use her name. Even so, Rove could be guilty of a felony that carries a possible 10-year prison sentence.

According to federal law,
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both. (emphasis added)
The fact that he didn't use her name but rather referred to her as the wife of Joseph Wilson should not matter here. The real question is whether it can be proven that Rove knew that she was a covert agent when he outed her.

Since the revelation of Plame's identity was widely interpreted as payback for Wilson's Op-Ed in the New York Times that contradicted administration charges that Iraq had attempted to purchase nuclear materials from Nigeria, and since Rove has a long history of political dirty tricks, it doesn't take a huge leap of the imagination to assume that he knew exactly what he was doing. He is "Bush's Brain," after all.

It remains to be seen what if any charges will be filed against Rove. As matters stand in this bizarre case, New York Times reporter Judith Miller sits in prison on contempt of court charges even thought she never wrote an article about Plame. Meanwhile, Robert Novak—whose article publicly revealed Plame's identity—walks free, and Rove still has his job.

The onus is now on Bush to do the right thing and fire Rove (unless Rove himself steps down—an almost unimaginable occurrence). Don't count on it, though. As recently as mid-June, Bush had this to say about his right-hand man:
My level of confidence with Karl Rove has never been higher. He is a man who gives me sound advice. He adheres to the ethical rules of our government and he's done a great job on behalf of the American people.
The question of whether he "adheres to the ethical rules of our government" is now in serious doubt but, then again, it always has been.
Listed on BlogShares