A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, July 18, 2005 :::
Although Joe Wilson bashing is a rewarding addiction, we will go cold turkey after this. And a final word on Karl Rove, whose tenure in the West Wing is likely to be cut short.

As for Amb. Wilson, the Washington Post said it all yesterday when it reported that Wilson's report never got to the President's desk. Indeed, as the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence found, it was considered inclusive and "mildly supportive" of the idea that Saddam went looking for yellow cake uranium in Niger. Not worth the time, and if W had seen it, he would not have interpreted it the way the good Ambassador seems to remember that he wanted it interpreted.

Given that, the fact that he "misrpresented" the role of his wife and "disproved" the authenticity of documents he had never in fact seen seems like small potatoes, but it certainly goes to his reliability. (That, plus knowing nothing about basic things like business management and the nature of Niger's feeble economy.)

A certain pudgy, balding English teacher went into the matter deeply, to find out how CIA professionals were considering the "Plame kerfuffle." Was there shock that a covert operative's cover had been blown? Outrage that confidential information was being used politically? To find out the answer to these and other pressing questions, he dug deep, and asked a CIA office director over poker. Said director said that he had heard only one or two comments about it in months, although, understanding the point of the question, he did add that the CIA had "other issues" to deal with. He no doubt would not put it this way, but other issues probably included, you know, being wrong about the whole WMD thing, plus senior officials who got involved in the presidential election and tried to kill W by leak, and then that whole Porter Goss-avenging angel thing.

As for Karl Rove, reports in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal make it seem highly unlikely that Mr. Rove will be around much longer. It appears that there is a question of a State Department briefing paper that was delivered to Air Force One as the President took off for Africa. In it, Amb. Wilson's wife is identified by name. It was after this Africa trip that stories began to circulate about how Amb. Wilson, with no professional qualifications whatsoever, had ended up with this particular job. Patrick Fitzgerald, the special investigator in this case, has subpoened the plane's phone logs. If, as it is reasonable to assume, "somebody" aboard AF1 made phone calls even hinting that reporters look at how Joe Wilson got his job, then they violated the light confidentiality placed on the document, and indeed were spreading information they got because of their jobs. Not a major crime, but a violation of some sort. As Mercutio said, ""tis not so deep as a well, nor so broad as a church door, but 't'will do, 't'will suffice. "

It also makes clear the role of Bob Novak. He is not a favored reporter of this White House, as he has maintained a very steady and well-reasoned opposition to the war from his position to the right of the administration. This hurts, and this White House punishes the smallest opposition with the greatest severity. It is unlikely that he would be the recipient of a phone call from AF1. So it is entirely possible that various reporters got suggestive phone calls, rumors started spreading, and "see everything, hear everything" Mr. Novak got wind of it. Mr. Novak's memory is that Karl Rove responded to his question along the lines of, "Oh, so you've heard that, too." Which, being translated, means, "great--it's got to Mr. Bullhorn."

It is also fascinating that Mr. Rove seems to think he did nothing wrong. He signed a waiver of confidentiality with reporters a long time ago, and his lawyer's letter to the lawyer of Mr. Cooper, the Time reporter whose notes spilled the beans on Mr. Rove, says that his client "reaffirms" his waiver. So he felt he had nothing to hide. Ignorance of the law, as the old saying goes, is no excuse, but the more fundamental principal is the one about living by the sword.

The regrettable Michael Kinsley had a column in the Washington Post this Sunday citing Newt Gingrich as a man who had been totally discredited but has found a profitable and influential life since then. Mr. Kinsley is not a fair man, and it is worth remembering--or rather, Mr. Rove should remember--what it was that "completely discredited" the then Speaker of the House. Mr. Gingrich had submitted an affidavit regarding a business deal to the House Ethics Committee, and then the NEXT DAY submitted a correction to it. It seemed clear that he had thought of lying, and then thought the better of it. If memory serves, what he was making affidavits about was not even unethical. In the annals of Washington crime, that hardly even rates a mention. However, after 3 1/2 years, nearly everyone had tired of Mr. Gingrich, and so out he went.

And so out goes Mr. Rove, with Mr. Delay--though these days he has dropped off the radar--probably following close behind.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 9:51 AM



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