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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Karl Rove, the CIA Leak, the White House, and the Supreme Court

The last few days has seen many revelations regarding the White House's involvement in the CIA leak case. The latest round of news has revealed that VP Cheney's top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was also among Time Magazine Reporter Matt Cooper's sources. President Bush's top political advisor, Karl Rove, has already been implicated. Moving on to the more important question on everyone's mind: will Rove or libby be fired. Not likely. Yesterday, the President backpedaled from a statement he made in the fall of 2003 when he said he would fire anyone INVOLVED in the leak. Clearly Rove and Libby are involved. Now, the President says that anyone who COMMITTED A CRIME will be fired. That's where the trick lies. Proving that what Rove or Libby said was a crime will be almost impossible. The bar regarding the 1982 law making it illegal to out a covert CIA agent is set so high that the burden of proof is almost unattainable. By changing the standard from involvement to criminal act, the President has protected Rove and Libby. The public though, sees right through this. The latest poles show that only about 25% of Americans think the President is cooperating with the investigation, as opposed to 47% in October 2003. The problem the White House is facing is that in 2003, WH press secretary Scott McCllelan categorically denied any involvement by Rove or Libby. Now we know that was not true, so the White House is reeling from the blows and trying to do some damage control without having to fire Bush's Brain. Rove or Libby will not be charged with a crime, at least not relating to the leaking of information. It is not clear what direction the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, will take. Some speculate that he might head in the direction of perjury, obstruction of justice, or conspiracy, all of which are easier to prove. Some think this will end in nothing. Let's throw into the mix the fact that Fitzgerald is known for running long and thorough investigations, and has an excellent track record. I would venture to say that he is planning something. But what, who knows? As far as Rove and Libby go, proving that they committed a crime under the 1982 law will be a difficult task, but everyone can see through the BS being fed to the public. Everyone can see that their actions were highly questionable and wrong, regardless of a crime. It was, no matter what they say, retaliation for someone who attacked the Administration. This issue is not about Joseph Wilson's credibility, it is about White House credibilty. Wilson might have a bone to pick with the White House, I don't know and I don't care. What is clear is that White House officials systematically involved themselves in revealing Wilson's wife as a CIA agent. Once again, criminal actions will be hard to prove, but that doesn't mean that a sensible person cannot see that what the White House did was enact revenge on someone who attacked it.

Now, this has unfortunately become politics as always. The Democrats have begun calling for Rove's resignation, more than anything because they really really hate him. Republicans are claiming that this is all partisanship and that Rove exonerated himself this week when his testimony was revealed. Well, of course it is partisanship, it is Washington for crying out loud, and this is how the game is played. Democrats are drawing political blood. You can't honestly expect me to believe that Republicans would not be doing the same if this were the Clinton White House. The Democrats, on the other hand, are playing into the Republican strategy of focusing on the partisan aspect of the issue. Instead of standing on the sidelines (while the press does it job and puts the White House on the spot, finally the media has flashed its brass ones) waiting for the investigation to conclude and then go in for the kill, Democrats are jumping in calling for resignations and doing name calling, which plays right into Republican claims of partisanship. They don't seem to get it. The White House has decided to shut up now that they put their backs against the wall by yapping to much, "we have a serious ongoing investigation," said President Bush yesterday, amid many laughs from White House reporters. Well, they didn't have problems commenting during a "serious ongoing investigation" before they landed in hot water. On the claim that Rove exonerated himself this week when his testimony revealed that he was allegedly a recipient of the information, not the leaker (a claim that looks as fishy to me as a priest in a kindergarden class), offered repeatedly this weak by RNC Chairman and top spinmaster (read "liar") Ken Mehlman, it is clear that Rove talked about a CIA agent's identity and confirmed a reporter's inquiries regarding the matter. So did Libby. Oh wait, he didn't mention her name so he is exonerated. Guess what, if someone told me that somebody's wife works at the CIA, I can find out her name if I want to, so the BS doesn't fly. Sometimes it amazes me how Mehlman can keep a straight face when he says some of these things. I have to give him credit for that, he is great at holding the party line.

This is what I believe will happen in the next fews days. As the White House scrambles to save face in an onslaught of allegations and accusations emanating from an angry press, President Bush will be forced to reveal his Supreme Court nominee earlier than he would want. The White House will hope that revealing the name will take the Rove leak scandal of the front page and move the battlefield to the Supreme Court vacancy. It will be a smart move, but will it work? At that point it will be the Democrats who will have to focus attention on both, maintaining the leak issue on people's minds, and fighting for a Supreme Court vacancy. One thing I can assure you, neither Rove nor Libby will be charged with a crime relating to the leak, maybe something else, but not the leak. Another thing, the press will not ease its relentless attack on the White House, they feel they have been misled and for the first time in a while they are doing their job! Thank goodness for that and stay tuned for the upcoming fireworks!

Bush Would Fire Leaker if Crime Committed


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