Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Rove's war

Sidney Blumenthal persuasively debunks two lies from the Rove apologists. 1)It was Cheney, not Plame that recommended Wilson be sent to Niger! | Rove's war: "When the Italian report on Niger uranium surfaced, Vice President Cheney's office contacted the CIA's counter-proliferation office to look into it. Such a request is called a 'tasker.' It was hardly the first query the task force had received from the White House, and such requests were not made through the CIA director's office, but directly. Plame's colleagues asked her if she would invite her husband out to CIA headquarters at Langley, Va., for a meeting with them, to assess the question.

It was unsurprising that the CIA would seek out Wilson. He had already performed one secret mission to Niger for the agency, in 1999, and was trusted. Wilson had also had a distinguished and storied career as a Foreign Service officer. He served as acting ambassador in Iraq during the Gulf War and was hailed by the first President Bush as a 'hero.' Wilson was an important part of the team and highly regarded by Secretary of State James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. Wilson was also an Africa specialist. He had been a diplomat in Niger, ambassador to Gabon and senior director for Africa on the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. (I first encountered Wilson then, and we have since become friends.) No other professional had such an ideal background for this CIA mission."

Two)The fact that Rove didn't give Plame's name to Novak doesn't mean he didn't betray her identity!

Washington, meanwhile, is an echo chamber of Rove's agents. His lawyer, Robert Luskin, has trashed Cooper: "By any definition, he burned Karl Rove." RNC chairman Ken Mehlman has appeared on talk shows, given newspaper interviews and circulated a three-page memo of talking points to Republican surrogates. In one brief statement, for example, Mehlman said: "The fact is Karl Rove did not leak classified information. He did not, according to what we learned this past weekend, reveal the name of anybody. He didn't even know the name ... He tried to discourage a reporter from writing a story that was false."

Mehlman's farrago of lies and distortions may be a fair representation of Rove's fears. Is it "the fact" that Rove didn't leak classified information? Plame's identity of course was classified. That is why the CIA referred the matter to the Department of Justice for investigation. But is Mehlman disclosing yet another Rove worry? The prosecutor can indict under any statute, including simply leaking classified information. Is Rove afraid of being indicted under that law, not just the one that makes it a crime to identify Plame? Mehlman raises a further Rove anxiety. No, Rove didn't "reveal the name." But the law doesn't cite that as a felony; it only specifies revealing the "identity" as a crime. It says nothing about a "name." Rove revealed "Joe Wilson's wife." That qualifies as an "identity." By the way, Plame did not go by the name of Plame, but Wilson -- in other words, Mrs. Wilson, or "Joe Wilson's wife." Rove seemed to know that much -- her identity.

No comments: