Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Was It Rove Who Outed CIA Agent?

Stand by this week as the proverbial excrement hits the fan when Karl Rove, President Bush's top political advisor, is revealed as the person who may have exposed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, endangering her life and ending her intelligence career.

For a Democratic blogger, the notion that Rove may be revealed as the "high-ranking government official" who illegally – and treasonously – blew Plame's cover is just too good to be true.

So I've been sitting on this all weekend waiting for the mainstream media to break the story wide open. But, because that hasn't happened yet, I want to bring my readers up to speed on the situation.

Background: This story goes back a couple of years, when ultra-conservative columnist Robert Novak published a piece in which he revealed Plame's role within the CIA. This occurred after Plame's husband, Joe Wilson, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, published an editorial in the New York Times critical of the Bush administration's twisting of intelligence to justify invading Iraq.

Wilson remains convinced that the White House exposed his wife's identity to retaliate against him for that editorial. Novak's column ran on July 14, 2003, following publication of Wilson's op-ed piece on July 6, 2003.

Because "outing" an American intelligence agent is a crime, a grand jury investigation followed and the recent story has been about reporters Matt Cooper (Time Magazine) and Judith Miller (New York Times) being threatened with jail time if they did not reveal their governmental source for the Plame information, which they also had.

The reporters stood firm but, last week, Time caved in – for "business reasons" and to keep Cooper out of jail – and turned over its notes to a special prosecutor assigned to learn who told Novak that Plame was a CIA agent. I guess the assumption here is that the same person who spilled the beans to Cooper probably did the same for Novak.

There is no word yet on whether the New York Times is going to turn over Miller's notes or if she will be going to jail for contempt of court. Both reporters are hopeful that the court's intent will be met by Time turning over Cooper's notes and the threat of jail will be removed.

But it's looking right now as if it was Bush's boy, Rove who outed Valerie Plame.

Here's senior MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell in his Huffington Post piece called simply "It's Rove..."

I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury.

Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow.

In the July 11 issue of Newsweek Magazine – available online now -- Michael Isikoff writes that Rove was indeed a source to Cooper.
The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House.
In the history of warfare, domestic traitors have often been treated worse by their countrymen than the foreign enemy. Their crime is far more insidious to the extent that you expect your enemies to work against you and to sell you out – but you are not forearmed to think the same is coming from one of you own.

If it turns out that Rove exposed Valerie Plame to such danger, how different is he from the terrorists that this administration professes to hate so much?

Let's get his trial done quickly and ship him off to Guantanamo Bay. Better yet -- and true to how the Patriot Act has been implemented -- shouldn't he be held without legal counsel at Gitmo until we get to the bottom of this?