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Washington Poohbahs Pooh-Pooh Rove Scandal


By David Corn

Here comes the Washington Establishment, eager to say, Waitaminute, maybe poor ol' Karl Rove didn't do much wrong. So let's cut him some slack. Last night on CNN, I spotted two Washington poohbahs being interviewed on the Rove scandal and both offered let's-take-this-slow advice and suggested that Rove may have merely committed a tiny and insignificant mistake.

On Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs chatted with David Gergen, who carries the lofty title of "former presidential adviser." Dobbs asked Gergen what he thought of the story, and Gergen replied, "I think this is a complex case, and we shouldn't get caught up in our underwear so far." Not get caught up in our underwear? Is that how the wise men of the capital talk? And is that what those White House reporters were doing yesterday when they were grilling White House press secretary Scott McClellan and demanding he come clean. (See my eyewitness account below.) Gergen explained that Rove might not be in "legal trouble"--which is true. But for Dobbs, that was not the question. He said, "I am not particularly interested in the legal aspect of this so much right now, as I am in both the politics, and, frankly, the forthright, honest character of the people who make statements such as, it's 'ridiculous' to suggest that Karl Rove was behind this."

Still, Gergen remained calm and untroubled about the matter:

Well, Lou, I don't think it's all that remarkable. Listen, a lot of White Houses, you know, put stories out, and the question is whether Karl Rove did anything wrong. That's the basic question we're trying to ask. And in terms of telling somebody, hey, a guy's wife at the CIA might have been behind it, on its face, that's not wrong. If he put her name out and he knew she was a covert agent, that would be wrong.

Gergen was echoing the Rove spin. But if Rove was going to finger "a guy's wife" for working at the CIA--in order to discredit a White House critic--shouldn't he have checked on what the wife did at the CIA? Shouldn't he have wondered whether he was passing along classified information, which, if disclosed, might expose her and/or undermine national security? Leaking this national security information--without knowing what the consequences might be--was a reckless act. And how did Rove come to have such information? Did he obtain it while participating in an anything-goes White House campaign against former Ambassador Joseph Wilson? Gergen ignored all this, as he downplayed the leak. He added, "If there's something here that Karl Rove did wrong in the initial instance, I don't see it yet." David, get thee to an opthamologist.

Three hours later, the king of reporters, Bob Woodward, was on Larry King Live. Twice he referred to Rove's leak to Cooper as a possible "accident." True, Rove might not have known that Valerie Wilson was working at the CIA under cover. That has yet to be determined. But telling Time's Matt Cooper that "Wilson's wife" was at the CIA was no accident. Rove was using this information to try to convince Cooper that Joseph Wilson was not credible by claiming that Wilson had been dispatched on his now-controversial trip to Niger by his wife (as if that would make a difference). Woodward also claimed that "in this case, there's no harm to national security." But there's been no public accounting of the impact of the Plame/CIA leak. Woodward was just supposin'. He didn't even say, "My sources tell me...." It is known that the CIA requested that the Justice Department investigate the leak. That might indicate that some damage was done. Certainly, Valerie Wilson had her career harmed and perhaps her operations (past and present) were compromised. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has maintained that this leak was a serious matter, and his claim has been supported by decisions written by federal judges who have overseen the case. They could be wrong. But Woodward pooh-poohed the significance of the leak without offering any evidence.

With the Rove fire burning within the media, Gergen and Woodward came out with water hoses and tried to douse the flames. Will others join the It's-No-Big-Deal Brigade? (Yes, it was just a third-rate leak. Nothing to fret over.) Or will Washington's reporters and commentators press against the stonewall the White House has constructed? Inquiring--and nervous--minds at the White House want to know.
******
By the way, the gang at Media Matters makes a good point. They note that Rove's I-didn't-say-her-name defense is a rather thin slice of baloney. If Cooper, after being told by Rove that Wilson's wife was a CIA official, had done a Google search, he would have immediately found a reference to Wilson's wife, "the former Valerie Plame." The name was not the key thing; the CIA affiliation was.
******

Note of appreciation: Let me extend my thanks to the folks at Buzzflash.com for (a) often posting my work on their fine site and (b) for paying close attention to the Plame/CIA leak story since it began--that is, after I posted on July 16, 2003, the first article that suggested a scandal was afoot. Buzzflash, of course, promoted that piece.

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Thanks for mentioning lastnight's CNN coverage, My wife & I were taken back by their "nothing to see here " attitude. These people are sure giving our children something to look up to. My dad used to tell me to lead by example, this example is one I don't want my children or grandchildren to follow.

Proverbs 6:16-19 reads: There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes; a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies (there's that lying again), and a man who sows discord among brothers.

We're pretty sure we know one of the leakers is Rove.

Now who's the 2nd one Novak referred to?

Any ideas?

I say Cheney.

It makes me sick that people such as former presidential advisors would get air time and spew this kind of non-sense. It amazes me how people can make a living by lying (or stretching the truth) and sleep at night. It makes me angry that there are people out there who will buy it.

They can POOH POOH all they want.

This is treason and it won't away.
It's connected to the DSM and that won't go away.
Men are DYING and that won't go away.
Men are crippled and that won't go away.
Children have no fathers and that won't go away.'
Moms don't have a son and that won't go away.
Wives don't have a partner and that won't go away.

As an American I will not let the Bush govenment risk security and get away with starting a war on a LIE.

They can spin till there heads fall off,but this won't go away!

In many institutions rats(people that sell out for evil),pay a heavy price and this is what ROVE did to the CIA.
But there's a pattern of many being sold out!

Is this the same govt that impeached clinton for lying about sex? Lets see lying about reasons for going to war or sex. Which was more important? Seven independent councils to harrass clinton. Seven. Remember Ken Starrs wonderful expose. What has happened? Remember Henry Hyde, Sensenbrenner Roehmer and the rest of the hit squad ranting and raving endlessly about the "rule of law" What has happened that Delay,Bush,Cheney,halliburton, Ken Lay and the rest of the boys keep breaking laws and getting away with it Where is the american public??????There is no chance for DSM or Rovegate or the haliburton profitering investigation to get off the ground if a sufficient number of americans dont start participating in what was our democratic way of life. We gotta start thinking about next step.
Enterprises built on lies eventually will fall.

Is this the same govt that impeached clinton for lying about sex? Lets see lying about reasons for going to war or sex. Which was more important? Seven independent councils to harrass clinton. Seven. Remember Ken Starrs wonderful expose. What has happened? Remember Henry Hyde, Sensenbrenner Roehmer and the rest of the hit squad ranting and raving endlessly about the "rule of law" What has happened that Delay,Bush,Cheney,halliburton, Ken Lay and the rest of the boys keep breaking laws and getting away with it Where is the american public??????There is no chance for DSM or Rovegate or the haliburton profitering investigation to get off the ground if a sufficient number of americans dont start participating in what was our democratic way of life. We gotta start thinking about next step.
Enterprises built on lies eventually will fall.

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