I’ve held off blogging about the whole Rove/Plame affair until now because despite all the breathless proclamations by the democrats and the press that Cooper’s revelation proved Wilson’s allegations of illegal character assassination; that charge just never made sense because:

1.) Rove is arguably the most crafty political machine ever to work in the White House. Why, after 2 years of knowing that it would be publicly disclosed that he talked to Cooper and Novak would he simply just sit there and take it quietly from the Democrats and Media as he did this week? Do you think maybe the press should have been just the slightest bit suspicious the White House wasn’t fighting back? Haven’t they been burned many, many times before?
2.) The last 2 years has revealed that Wilson is about as familiar with the concept of honesty as the typical Frenchman is to deodorant (Happy Bastille Day!). He lied about how he got to Niger, what he found there and about how his report was received (Top 10 Lies).
3.) Everyone who knew Wilson and Plame – coworkers, friends, neighbors -- already knew Plame worked for the CIA for the last 5 years. This common knowledge that Valerie Plame was an agent at the CIA was all that Novak revealed in his infamous editorial. It wasn’t until 2 days later that liberal hack David Corn was the first to suggest that Valerie Plame was a NOC or spy after interviewing Wilson.
4.) Plus his haircut just makes him look like a total douche bag.

Despite having access to these facts for nearly 2 years, the press still responded to Cooper’s revelation like sharks in a feeding frenzy. Disdain for conservatives clearly took precedence over occam’s razor. Morning edition gleefully edited together contentious press conferences with Scott McClellan with those from the Nixon era and the NYTimes called for Rove to be fired. The only conclusion one can draw is that yet again, the Washington press corps spared no effort in pursuing their dream scenario which would end with Rove being frog marched out of the White House rather than the most likely and obvious – that Wilson is a fatuous buffoon whose desire to appear important ultimately blew the cover of his wife.

This John Tierney editorial in the NYTimes best sums up the most likely outcome of this whole Plame nonsense.

Karl Rove's version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth: Mr. Wilson's investigation, far from being requested and then suppressed by a White House afraid of its contents, was a low-level report of not much interest to anyone outside the Wilson household….
… it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.
It would be logical to name it the Not-a-gate scandal, but I prefer a bilingual variation. It may someday make a good trivia question:
What do you call a scandal that's not scandalous?
The only real thing in doubt now is if Rove will show mercy on the MSM which so overzealously clamored for his demise. Probably not.

UPDATE: Here's a perfect example of the unbiased coverage Karl inspires (Listen for the "thats Bullsh_t").

UPDATE: BizzyBlog thinks "Nadagate" may be the beginning of the end for the Times.

LAST UPDATE: Excellent column by Christopher Hitchens.


Joe said...

I just read the Hitchens article. He spends a lot of time impugning Wilson's character, which may be relevant politically, but which is immaterial to the question of Rove's guilt. Is he trying to argue that Wilson deserved to have his wife endangered?
The big question for me is how much malice was there in the leak. I don't know if any investigation will ever be able to say.

Andrew said...

Where did you get that Valerie Plame ever "endangered"? Or that Karl acted with "Malice"?

Valerie has been a CIA desk-jocky since 1997. Karl was simply trying to prevent Time from basing a feature story on a completely unreliable source.

Ben said...

I have to agree with Andrew here. Much has been lost in the uproar over this story, primarily the question of whether or not a crime has been committed. Rove hasn't been charged with anything, so his guilt isn't at question (though it could be). Hitchens takes issue with Wilson for good reason, i.e., his word is seriously compromised. The Plame story is what it is because of Wilson's public stance. Taken by itself, the editorial he wrote which started this mess seemed compelling, in context, it's complete horseshit. His version of events has since shown itself to lack internal consistency, let alone consistency with the commonly accepted reality arrived at by the 9/11 commission and other serious government-sponsored investigations. Hitchens point is that the press is proceeding with the story that a CIA operative has been put in danger as though everything Wilson has said was objective truth. This is less an article about crime, guilt and all that, and more about the collective assumptions made by press and how they contribute to a story that bears little resemblance to reality.

Joe said...

By "guilt," I meant both ethical and legal guilt.
I'm not claiming that Rove acted with malice...I'm saying that his degree of malice or lack of malice is the relevant question. And whether or not Rove's disclosure actually endangered Plame is also largely irrelevant. Even if his actions turned out to be innocuous, it doesn't mean that it's ok for government officials to reveal the identities of undercover agents, even if it is politically advantageous for them. For many spies, their cover keeps them alive.
I doubt very much that Rove will be charged with a crime, but the ethics are still important. And the ethics depend on how much Rove knew about Plame's situation and how malicious he was..questions that I doubt will be ever be answered.

Andrew said...

So you’re saying to challenge a “spy” -- which Valerie Plame was assuredly not – who uses their position to inappropriately push a political agenda through nepotism and a vast array of lies is unethical? I could see illegal in the case of the 1982 statute simply for the sake of national security (if she was a spy), but please illuminate what moral fabric Karl cut across when he correctly informed Cooper of the true nature of his source. Valerie did more to put her associates at risk than “Malicious” Karl Rove could ever achieve starting with a $1000 1999 campaign donation given to Al Gore while listing a secret CIA front company as her employer – something even an desk jockey shouldn’t do – which blew her cover as well as everyone working for the company(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Plame). She then used her office to get her husband a trip to gather information he would then dishonestly use to wage war on the Bush administration. If Karl did more than simply responding with the truth, please educate me. It seems to me that even if he wanted to "endanger", she had already long been damaged goods by her own doing.

Joe said...

Yes, that's what I'm saying. And once again, I'm NOT CLAIMING he was malicious. I'm saying, IF HE WAS, then what he did was unethical.

And if he knew she was undercover, and he was aware that revealing her identity was tantamount to blowing her cover, then the fact that Plame and Wilson may have been unethical does NOT make it ok.

Definition of spy: Undercover CIA agent.

Andrew said...

Nope. That is not the definition everyone else uses.

A spy has "Non Official Cover" or NOC. At most since 1997 Valerie had the lesser "Official Cover". There is a huge difference. Publicly talking about the latter isn't a crime. Futhermore, there is no evidence that Karl knew she had any cover whatsoever.


Joe said...

So it's ok to blow someone's cover if it's only "official?" Something tells me the NSC would disagree with you.

Andrew said...

No, it's not "okay" to consciously "blow" even a rank and file CIA officer such as Plame. It wastes a huge amount of human effort and damages national security. That’s why a special prosecutor was correctly appointed; because Plame, however inappropriate her actions, is a national security asset who became devalued because her identity became public. Perhaps my post was unclear, but its purpose was to highlight how zealous the media was in pursuing Wilson’s allegations of a “Rove smear” without taking into consideration the preponderance of evidence available for almost 2 years that clearly demonstrates that Rove’s behavior was neither immoral nor illegal. On the contrary, it appears that the Plantiff is the guilty party in the case. It was Plame’s desire to inappropriately influence policy and Wilson’s desire to appear important which drew the scrutiny of the press, which resulted in the current scandal. You can believe otherwise, but the evidence simply isn’t there.