Monday, July 18, 2005


Bush Advisor Karl Rove leaked identity of CIA operative

(This column will run in the 7/21/05 edition of THE ALBANY (GA.) JOURNAL)

"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." George W. Bush, State of the Union Speech, January 28, 2003.

“The White House concedes that information wasn't true.” CNN, December 25, 2003.

The disconnect between the increasing loss of honesty, integrity, and fairness at the top of the government food chain- the civilian leadership- and those Americans who risk their lives daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, becomes greater and more apparent with each revelation from the Bush Administration. As Bush’s poll ratings sink to their lowest ever (an NBC- Wall Street Journal poll reveals that only 41 percent of Americans think that Bush is “honest and straightforward”), the latest embarrassment is Karl Rove, the Presidential counselor with a top security clearance, including duties involving both the National Security Council and Homeland Security.

Karl Rove’s chickens are finally coming home to roost. After falsely accusing John McCain of being “the Fag candidate,” of treason during his prisoner of war experience in North Vietnam, and of fathering a black child by a prostitute (Senator McCain his wife adopted an orphan from Bangladesh) to help George W. Bush win the 2000 Republican South Carolina primary, it is only fitting that Rove has impaled himself on the media stiletto he has wielded so faithfully in the service of his master.

The gist of the story is that Rove was incensed at the July 2003 New York Times opinion piece by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who revealed that Bush had falsely stated that Saddam Hussein was attempting to obtain yellow cake uranium from “an African country” (Niger) in the 2003 State of the Union speech. An obviously forged letter which implicated Saddam was the impetus for the CIA’s decision to send Joseph Wilson to Niger in 2002 to investigate the allegations. (In July of 2003 David Ensor of CNN reported that one of the forged documents, a letter discussing the uranium deal with Iraq, contained the faked signature of Tandja Mamadou, the president of Niger and another, written on paper from a 1980s military government in Niger, bears the date of October 2000 and the signature of a man who by then had not been foreign minister of Niger for 14 years.) By the time President Bush delivered his State of the Union speech in January of 2003, the CIA, the Vice President, and the National Security Council were all aware that the documents were forged and the uranium allegations unproven.

After the Wilson revelations, in an effort to limit the damage to President Bush’s credibility, Rove leaked information to reporters, including Matt Cooper of Time Magazine, that Wilson was sent to Africa at the behest of his wife (Valerie Plame Wilson) and warned Cooper against going “too far out on Wilson.”

Unfortunately for Rove, he violated federal law by outing Wilson’s wife, who was a CIA operative in the field of Weapons of Mass Destruction. When the leak first surfaced- Robert Novak’s column was the first to identify Plame by name- the CIA sought a special prosecutor to identify and prosecute the leaker. During the course of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation, one reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, has gone to jail for refusing to identify an administration leaker, while Matt Cooper of Time avoided jail and revealed Rove’s role after receiving a waiver from Rove’s attorney early last week.

The right wing media and politicians have received their talking points from Rove, and as usual, their response is to attack the messengers who tell the truth. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman appeared on July 17th’s Meet the Press and declared “outrageous” the calls for Rove’s firing from Democratic Senators John Kerry, Charles Schumer, and Hillary Clinton (he apparently forgot to mention Ted Kennedy, for which he will lose Limbaugh points in the pit bull competition). From Mehlman’s contorted facial expressions, he didn’t even appear to believe his own absurd comments, and neither did host Tim Russert. As I watched, I wondered idly how much more fun the show could be if NBC hooked up the politico guests to a lie detector, so the audience could see the wild swings of the needle as the prevarications piled up.

Meanwhile, the President has apparently backtracked on his pledge to fire the leaker, in an interpretation of the English language worthy of Bill Clinton’s explanation of his grand jury testimony in the Paula Jones case. The New York Times reported on July 13, 2005:

“Mr. Bush was asked in June 2004 whether he would fire anyone who leaked Ms. Wilson's name. Without hesitation, he said "yes." But if Ms. Wilson was discussed -- but not named -- current and former White House officials say Mr. Bush may not feel he is violating his pledge by keeping the political engineer who, as deputy chief of staff, is now formulating much of the domestic policy agenda of Mr. Bush's second term.”

I guess it all depends on the meaning of the word “fire.”


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