By David Sirota
I am not one who likes to engage in a lot of speculation, but the Karl Rove/leak scandal has really gotten me thinking: why won't they just fire Rove? The answer is not that Rove is innocent, or even that they can't because he's too powerful - I'm starting to think the reason is because while Rove was definitely involved and definitely deserves to face legal consequnces, he wasn't the root. Somebody else was the root of this leak - and that somebody is likely a person the Bush administration can't just cut loose like they could even Rove, who is after all, a staffer. It must be somebody even higher up on the food chain.
Before I tell you who I think it might be, let's just go through what we know. Rove now admits he learned of the classified information from a journalist (which of course does not excuse him from going and confirming that information to another "journalist" like Bob Novak). It's very possible that person was Judith Miller, but that's not really important - what is important is that the journalist got the information from someone else...someone higher up.
Novak has given us a clue about who this higher up is. He says it was "no partisan gunslinger." Not that Novak's description should be taken as 100 percent credible - he is a partisan hack after all. But still, the question is who would someone like Bob Novak make that description of?
I'd like to think it was Vice President Dick Cheney, but even Novak wouldn't describe him in those terms, and I do believe Cheney is too smart and too keen to his own self-preservation to get himself directly involved in something like this. So again, who is an official who is up in the White House stratosphere that can't just be fired, that isn't a "partisan gunslinger?"
I'm thinking we need to start asking Condoleezza Rice some questions. Now, I say that having no proof at all that she was involved. I'm just trying to read what we do know. And if you think about it, Rice really should be on the hot seat. Here is a person who came out of academia and who might not have the appreciation for how quickly you can get burnt down for leaking classified info, and who might think that's all part of "how its done" in Washington's partisan battles.
Furthermore, Rice is not well known as a "partisan gunslinger" (even though she is). Also, she was the face of the Bush administration in the lead up to war - she was the front person in defending all the administration's WMD claims, she was talking to all sorts of reporters trying to make the WMD threat seem as menacing as possible. She was the one who allowed Bush's reference to Iraq supposedly buying uranium from Niger to get into the State of the Union address, and then denied it by laughably pretending she never read the intelligence reports debunking the claim - as if we are expected to believe that.
Then suddenly, Joe Wilson comes along and debunks the whole thing. That means Rice would have had not only a broad motive to defend the White House, but a personal motive to defend her own competence: Wilson's proof that the Iraq-uranium-Niger thing was bogus was a direct indictment against Rice, because she was personally supposed to vet the State of the Union address and the specific claims in question before they were aired. And, as we know, the leak of Wilson's wife's name came as a means to discredit Wilson's debunking of the Iraq-Niger claim.
Again - this is all speculation. I'm trying to use the skills I acquired as a child player of the board game Clue to try to figure out what's going on - and I have no proof that Rice was involved. But someone with her profile and position raises questions: she is someone who isn't known as a "partisan gunslinger;" she is someone that, because she is now Secretary of State, they can't just fire easily; and she had not only a broad ideological motive, but a very personal one. And now, at the end of the day, we find out that Rice's number two, Stephen Hadley, has a connection to the scandal.
So the real question at the end of all of this is simple: Has anyone asked Condi Rice about her involvement in this scandal?
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