C. L. Cook
July 16, 2005
Known as the ultimate political dirty fighter,
is it possible the Mayberry Machiavelli was himself set-up
to take the fall in the Valerie Plame outing case?
Was Karl Rove Set-Up?
C. L. Cook
July 16, 2005
As difficult to believe as it may seem, Karl Rove, the political dirty trickster that makes Richard Nixon's famous transgressions look absolutely Boy Scoutish appears to be taking a fall for the real culprits behind the felony offence disclosure of the identity of deep-cover CIA agent, Valerie Plame-Wilson.
The Plame-Wilson affair has simmered these past two years just beyond the media's range of acceptable stories. That all changed last week when Patrick "Bulldog" Fitzgerald's demand that recalcitrant Grand Jury witness, New York Times reporter, Judith Miller's incarceration for contempt was granted. Miller is in prison yet, still not talking, but the move prompted Time Inc. to fork over the notes of Matthew Cooper, another reporter facing jail time for refusing to reveal his White House source of the Plame-Wilson identity. Those notes implicated Karl Rove, aka "Bush's Brain."
Rove is a difficult person to feel sympathy for; he has, over the course of his career managing George Bush to the Texas State House and White House, employed every dirty trick in the book, and invented a few new ones. So, it may be understandable that Rove's many enemies in political circles and the press are gleefully trumpeting his impending fall from grace, but that joy could be the biggest impediment to getting to the bottom of the affair and revelations of a larger crime against the American people and the world of which the Plame-Wilson outing is but a single strand.
The criminal release of classified information is generally thought to have been a stab at Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, the man Vice-President Dick Cheney's office sent to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims contained within a document handed over to U.S. authorities through the offices of Italy's CIA counterpart SISMI claiming then-Iraq President Saddam Hussein was seeking yellowcake uranium from that country. Yellowcake is the foundation ore for the development of nuclear fissile material. The claims were one part of the Bush administration's PR campaign to launch attacks against Iraq.
Wilson debunked the claims, but they were later reiterated as fact in George Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech in the months leading to the U.S. invasion. Hearing the speech, Wilson wrote an Op-ed piece, published by the New York Times, essentially calling Bush a liar and so, it's thought, was targeted by Rove, as have many other dissenters. But, the focus on Rove may be providing a smokescreen obscuring the true nature of the crimes commited and the identities of the culprits.
The crux of the case lies in the nature of the information released into the public sphere. There's no reason to believe Rove, despite his close relationship with Bush, would know the classified identity of Plame-Wilson. She was a deep-cover agent working on nuclear and WMD proliferation. It's the kind of information not bandied about to political strategists, or any others without a defined "need to know."
It's clear, Rove did discuss Plame-Wilson with Cooper at least, but he contends, through his lawyer, that he learned of her double-life through conversations with right-wing columnist and television commentator, Robert Novak. Novak is a long-time acquaintance of Rove's and has served his political interests in the past. Novak authored the first article on Plame-Wilson, thus beginning the scandalous escapade.
So, where did Novak get his information? Curiously, it's a question overlooked. There is speculation that Novak has already given testimony to the Grand Jury ex Parte (not for public consumption) and so has been spared the ordeal of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper.
Justin Raimondo, at antiwar.com speculates Novak's source is none other than controversial Bush nominee for the ambassadorship of the U.N., John Bolton. Bolton, in a previous political incarnation served as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, a position that would see him receiving intelligence briefings based on the work of Valerie Plame-Wilson.
Raimondo ties Bolton and his friends at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a heavy-hitting political think tank whose membership is a veritable Who's Who of the current administration, and Dick Cheney's Office of Special Plans, a parallel intelligence organization long at odds with the CIA and State Department. Raimondo suggests, the outing of Plame-Wilson was not a simple matter of malice, but a broader swipe at the CIA; a serious blow to their intelligence gathering capabilities that weakened the security of the nation.
Rove will fall through this affair, but his descent will be only one of many to follow. The question now is: How far will the tear run?
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ.org.