Fulcrum Ruminations

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Show Him The Door

Evidence is mounting that Bush political strategist Karl Rove may have been the person who leaked the identity of then-CIA employee Valerie Plame to the press. This compromised a clandestine agent and by extension put at risk anyone Ms. Plame may have been "working" for intel.

There's legal debate over whether what Rove did constitutes an actual crime. I don't see that that matters. If he did commit a crime, the investigation should eventually bear that out.

What troubles me is Bush's statement of some months ago that if the ongoing investigation revealed who was involved, they would be "taken care of." The inference clearly being that they would be punished in some manner. Rove, of course, is Bush's closest political advisor and by all accounts is a personal friend to the President. Bush has not commented overtly on the matter yet, with the White House doing the usual bob-n-weave about "ongoing investigations" and all that. But he's apparently also passed up a couple opportunities to defend Rove, aside from being seen chatting with him (out of the range of press corps microphones) on the way to or from an appointment.

I can see Bush's plight. Rove is a friend and Bush, despite what anyone thinks, does stick by his friends. He also can't just cave in to demands that Rove be removed from the White House, as that would cost him political "face." But, he must also distance himself from Rove until something more definitive comes along. My problem is that given Bush's earlier statement, to retain what credibility he still has he must push Rove out the door if Rove was in fact the source of the leak.

And it goes without saying (tho I'll say it anyway) that you do not compromise clandestine agents. Ever. No matter Rove's motivation, and it seems as I write this that the motivation was petty partisanship, that is simply not done. It shows a grotesque lack of regard for proper conduct for the sake of cheap and momentary political gain.

In other news, Chief Justice Rehnquist is out of the hospital. Good deal.


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