Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Maybe this time 

Some in the blogosphere, having been burned many times before, are concluding that unless Rove is actually charged with obstruction or perjury or criminally outing a CIA agent, he's going to be staying in the White House. All that stuff from Bush two years ago about how the leaker would be fired were just the usual BS, they're saying, and the Republicans are going to try to make everything Joe Wilson's fault. Here's The Poorman's Ships post:
. . . it is important to appreciate that there is a vast, vast ocean of difference between picking on some NY Times reporter and actually, you know, doing things which will make the White House upset. The right-wing smear machine hasn't tried to tear Fitzgerald down, the Justice Department and/or Congress hasn't taken away his funding, and Tom DeLay hasn't yet darkly warned any activist judges or jurists who might sit on such criminal cases as may result from this investigation that he cannot be responsible for the potentially violent actions of patriotic citizens which may understandably result from any anti-American type of outcome. It's not impossible that we could see justice come out of this thing, and perhaps even the long-awaited frogmarch, but I wouldn't get my hopes up. Too many people just want to see this story sail away.
But I wonder if it will actually be so easy -- are people in the United States finally getting fed up? According to Americablog, a lot of newspaper editorial pages this morning were on this story. John writes:

. . . the coverage is bad. Real bad. I'm going to post the leads of the stories, to give you a sense of how bad.
NYT (via SF Chronicle): Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover CIA officer would be fired, and assuring that Karl Rove and other senior aides to President Bush had nothing to do with the disclosure, the White House refused on Monday to answer any questions about new evidence of Rove's role in the matter.
Detroit Free Press: The White House refused Monday to repeat earlier assertions that any administration official who leaked classified information would be fired. The refusal comes days after Karl Rove, one of President George W. Bush's top aides, was revealed as the source of a news leak that exposed a CIA undercover officer in 2003.

Houston Chronicle: The White House scrambled Monday to reconcile President Bush's vow to fire anyone who leaked information about an undercover CIA operative with revelations that top political aide Karl Rove spoke to a reporter about the agent.
AP: The White House is suddenly facing damaging evidence that it misled the public by insisting for two years that presidential adviser Karl Rove wasn't involved in leaking the identity of a femaleCIA officer.
SF Chronicle editorial: THE OFFICIAL silence from the White House on Monday was quite disturbing.
Robert Scheer: To try to conceal the fact that the president had lied to the American public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans and send an intimidating message to any other government officials preparing to publicly tell the truth.

Josh Marshall points out the latest Republican "Red Herring Egregious Mumbojumbo", debunking that Wilson's trip to Niger had been authorized by Tennant or Cheney -- the egregious aspect being that Wilson neither said nor implied that his trip had been authorized by Tennant or Cheney. Marshall writes "The whole thing is a dodge and a distraction. It's irrelevant to the question that was under discussion. It's just yet another attempt to whip up a phoney cover story after the fact. Or, in other words, more scofflaw Republicanism."
It seems the Republican attack machine will be trying to recycle the same points it tried to make last summer, that a Senate Intelligence report had debunked Wilson -- which is not true at all. And with no WDM found in Iraq, and Tennant saying two years ago that the Africa claim should not have been made, I wonder how many would now be persuaded that Wilson was wrong about Niger.
Armando notes that the story has now developed some of its own momentum, moving away from Wilson to focus on Rove and Bush " . . . the White House lied to the American People about the fact that Rove leaked that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. That's the story now. The law will take care of itself. The Plame prosecutor will tell us about that if and when he hands down indictments. But the White House has been lying to the American People about the fact that Rove leaked Plame's identity and about the fact that the President would fire whoever leaked this information."

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