In case you've been lolling on a beach, enjoying some summer vacation...the "news" today is that Karl Rove's attorney admits that his client, indeed, was Newsweek report Matt Cooper's source (i.e. illegal national security breach) for his story revealing the name of Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative.
No big surprise. It was logical and obvious. Who else would have the knowledge, ego and pettiness to do something so vindictively treasonous?
Now don't get all excited yet, dreaming of long-time admitted dirty trickster Karl Rove in handcuffs being marched off to a life in some dark, foreboding federal prison. Don't forget...Karl's a clever guy, and he likely has some interesting technicality that will keep him residing comfortably in wealthy suburbia. Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice has an interesting take on potential legalities of the whole "attorney says Karl did it" thing.
But here's my dream about it all: that in a million-to-one shot, Bush turns on Rove, and lets him take the rap. And then Rove squeals the WHOLE TRUTH like a stuck pig. Now that, my friends, would be divine and precious retribution. But sadly, it's merely an improbable pipe dream.....
(I have a theory as to why Robert Novak has mysteriously never been charged in the Valerie Plame fiasco, when he, just like Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, reported her name. Perhaps he's on the Bush Administration payroll, and he's not being legally pursued to keep that horribly awkward fact from being revealed?)
In case in you've been on that beach all last week, here's a bit of background from the Center for American Progress earlier this week.....
In recent days, the media has focused a lot of attention on Time reporter Matt Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller and their fight to stay out of jail over Plamegate. What the media hasn’t covered is Karl Rove’s growing role in this scandal. The White House press corps has not asked Press Secretary Scott McClellan about Rove’s role since his own lawyer admitted that Rove was one of Cooper’s sources. There are key questions that the media isn’t asking the president’s closest advisor about the CIA scandal.
Karl Rove’s lawyer’s carefully worded statements need to be further examined. According to his lawyer, Rove did not “tell” any reporter that Plame worked for the CIA. But did he perhaps confirm to a reporter that Plame worked for the CIA? Or maybe he just told Cooper and columnist Bob Novak that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent but didn't give her name?
It is still unknown whether Karl Rove released classified information. On several occasions, Rove’s attorney has stated that Rove never “knowingly” disclosed classified information. The use of the word “knowingly” is very important – to violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about Plame knowing that the U.S. was trying to keep her identity secret. And why would his lawyer say this unless Rove did in fact disclose classified information?
Karl Rove could put an end to the speculation by telling what he knows. Lost in all of the back and forth is the fact that Karl Rove himself holds the answer to these questions. He can tell the American people exactly what his conversations with Matt Cooper were. And if he is not the source of the leak, he can publicly demand that whoever leaked Plame’s name step forward immediately.