Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fishing in a polluted pond: lures, lies and bait

It appears as though the anti-Beyonce, Karl "I didn't say her name" Rove, emailed then Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on July 11, 2003 with a message indicating he "didn't take the bait" when Cooper asked him if the President had been hurt by Joe Wilson's opinion piece indicating the administration was less than truthful about the Iraq-Niger cake sale. [emphasis added]
"Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a welfare reform story coming," Rove wrote in the e-mail to Hadley.

"When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn't this damaging? Hasn't the president been hurt? I didn't take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out in front on this."
By the time the email was sent Rove already knew that Bob Novak was running a story on Plame & Wilson, and that George Tenent would be make the statement taking responsibility for bad intel while still attempting to refute Wilson's claims. [emphasis added]
Republicans cheered the latest revelations Friday, saying they showed Rove wasn't trying to hurt Plame but instead was trying to informally warn reporters to be cautious about some of Wilson's claims.

"What it says is, Karl Rove wasn't the leaker, he was actually the recipient of the information not the provider," Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman said on Fox News. "So there are probably a lot of folks in Washington who have prejudged this, who have rushed to judgment who are trying to smear Karl Rove."
The email could be read as he didn't take the bait on the Cooper's question about the administration being hurt by Wilson's piece. The email could also be read as undermining Rove's assertion he was just trying to get Cooper and Time magazine off the track of damage to the administration's credibility since, if this were the case, he would have put a positive spin by limiting his discussion with Cooper to a statement that there's more info forthcoming that would refute Wilson's statements and lend credence to those of the administration without adding information about "Joe Wilson's wife". If he were just refuting Wilson's assertion that neither Cheneny nor Tenent authorized Wilson's mission, he could have simply stated that a mid-level desk jockey at the agency decided to send Wilson without adding in that it was Wilson's wife who worked at the agency and had the authority to send him to Niger on such a mission.

Even if Rove was not the original leak, he was at a minimum a confirming source. This makes him complicit in Plame's identification. Senior administration officials contacted as many of 6 journalists with the Plame information and could possibly, be construed as walking a might tight line close to violation under part (c) the Intelligence Identity Act of 1982 since it shows a pattern of action by the administration to notify unauthorized individuals that Valerie Plame was currently in a position at the CIA of some power working on WMD. While they did not come out and say she was working under cover and will never admit their intent was to damage national security (their intent probably wasn't to damage national security per se, but to hide administration lies that just happened to damage national security), their actions would seem to be illegal under what the spirit of that law should be (these requirements of that law, enacted under the Reagan-Bush administration, seem tailor made to allowing those with access to information do an awful lot of damage without technically breaking it).

As a senior member of the administration, it was Rove's responsibility ensuring any information he supplies/confirms does not publically identify a covert operative and/or potentially jeopardize either an operation or national security.

Coming to Rove's defense last night was Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-United States of Texas) on Hardball with guest host David Gregory. Gregory asked Hutchinson twice whether Rove, as a senior member of the administration, had the responsibility to ensure any information he supplied or confirmed about anyone in the CIA did not compromise an agent or national security. She ignored the question instead sticking to the Republican talking points about the issue.

The Republican Party seems to define the word right at their convenience.

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