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Editorial: Dump Rove / The investigation moves closer to the president
As the Valerie Plame case becomes increasingly the Karl Rove case, and as the rising water of it begins to lap closer to President Bush, there are several truths about this matter that are worth keeping in mind.
1. In the very beginning Mr. Bush said that it was unlikely that the leaker would ever be found. There is every reason to believe that he would then have taken steps to make that true.
2. It is now clear that presidential adviser Karl Rove did discuss Valerie Plame with reporters, however those discussions are now being described or construed. Mr. Bush said he would fire anyone in the White House who did that.
3. The concept of nailing someone (Valerie Plame, the CIA agent) for what her spouse may have done is unforgivably retrograde in 2005. (Ms. Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, is the former ambassador who said that President Bush's State of the Union claim that Iraq had bought uranium was false.)
4. "Outing" a CIA agent is clearly a national security affair. The Bush administration allegedly regards national security very seriously. Mr. Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, was head of the CIA in 1976-77, so there is reason to believe the current president takes the CIA seriously.
5. As a matter of national security, this is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. Former Clinton security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger was nailed for having pilfered classified documents and thus eliminated from presidential candidate John Kerry's prospective list of candidates for secretary of state.
6. Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has not yet sung. He is supposed to be a tough prosecutor. That may mean that, however much slippin' and slidin' Karl Rove has in mind, Mr. Fitzgerald may have too much integrity to get rolled by the likes of him.
7. This isn't Watergate, however much Democrats may be licking their chops at the thought of Bush having to choose between loyalty to his friend and a long drubbing on the subject.
In any case, Watergate should serve as an educative experience for any president.
Given that Mr. Bush definitely has other things to do with his time -- starting with the Iraq war -- this is probably the time to just take a deep breath and fire Karl Rove now, before this goes any further.