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7/12/2005
THE TIMES GOES FOR THE GOLD
CATEGORY: Politics

Looks like the New York Times is a bit miffed at Karl Rove and the Bush Administration:

WASHINGTON, July 11 - Nearly two years after stating that any administration official found to have been involved in leaking the name of an undercover C.I.A. 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 Mr. Rove’s role in the matter.

And that’s just the lead.

The Times senior editorial staff are obviously upset that one of their reporters, Judith Miller, sits rotting in a jail cell because she refuses to name her source or sources to Special Prosecutor Richard Fitzgerald in the “outing” of Valerie Plame, the CIA employee who sent her husband Joe Wilson to Nigeria in order to hobnob with government representatives poolside and “investigate” whether Saddam’s Iraq was trying to buy yellow cake uranium. Wilson received assurances from the Nigerians that this was not the case and subsequently accused the Bush Administration of lying about the transaction.

Wilson himself turned out to be the liar as it was discovered that, despite his repeated denials, his wife did indeed strongly recommend that he be the official to make the Nigeria trip. Wilson also was never able to ascertain whether or not the Nigerians were in fact supplying Iraq with yellow cake, despite repeatedly saying so in the Op-Ed pages of the Times and elsewhere.

In March of last year, the US removed 500 tons of yellow cake uranium from facilities in Iraq, enough to make more than 20 Hiroshima sized bombs.

Does it surprise you that those little nuggets of information are not in this New York Times story?

Make no mistake. The New York Times has declared all out war on the White House with this “news” report.” And they’re putting the White House on notice that they consider this “scandal” every bit as important as Watergate, Iran-Contra, or Clinton’s impeachment:

“The lesson of history for George Bush and Karl Rove is that the best way to help themselves is to bring out all the facts, on their own, quickly,” Mr. Schumer said, citing the second-term scandals that have beset previous administrations.

In two contentious news briefings, the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, would not directly address any of a barrage of questions about Mr. Rove’s involvement, a day after new evidence suggested that Mr. Rove had discussed the C.I.A. officer with a Time magazine reporter in July 2003 without identifying her by name.

Under often hostile questioning, Mr. McClellan repeatedly declined to say whether he stood behind his previous statements that Mr. Rove had played no role in the matter, saying he could not comment while a criminal investigation was under way. He brushed aside questions about whether the president would follow through on his pledge, repeated just over a year ago, to fire anyone in his administration found to have played a role in disclosing the officer’s identity. And he declined to say when Mr. Bush learned that Mr. Rove had mentioned the C.I.A. officer in his conversation with the Time reporter.

Ironically, what might save Mr. Rove from prosecution (although his resignation may be in the cards) could be the liberal’s own hatred of the CIA and the how that hate translated into drawing up the legislation covering any crime Mr. Rove may have committed.

In the late 1970’s, CIA whistle blower Phillip Agee, in his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published the names of some covert operatives in Europe who ended up being assassinated. While it was impossible to tie Mr. Agee’s revelations to the killings, Congress, or at least the Republicans, was worried enough to pass a law against outing intelligence officials.

The debate on passage of the bill was rancorous with liberals screaming that such a law would discourage other whistle blowers from coming forward, thus depriving the left of any knowledge regarding sensitive intelligence operations. This debate was occurring a little more than 5 years after the infamous Church Committee hearings during which time morale at the CIA plummeted to an all time low and several of the more stupid and disastrous CIA operations were disclosed for the first time. It was during this time that Agee became a hero to the left, almost on par with the patron saint of whistle blowers Daniel Ellsberg, he of the Pentagon Papers fame.

The opposition to this law by the left back then has their protestations against Rove ringing hollow today.

The Times outlines the difficulties facing those who are salivating at the prospect of Rove doing the “perp walk”:

A prosecutor seeking to establish a violation of the law has to establish an intentional disclosure by someone with authorized access to classified information. That person must know that the disclosure identifies a covert agent “and that the United States was taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States.” A covert agent is defined as someone whose identity is classified and who has served outside the United States within the last five years.

“We made it exceedingly difficult to violate,” Victoria Toensing, who was chief counsel to the Senate intelligence committee when the law was enacted, said of the law.

The e-mail message from Mr. Cooper to his bureau chief describing a brief conversation with Mr. Rove, first reported in Newsweek, does not by itself establish that Mr. Rove knew Ms. Wilson’s covert status or that the government was taking measures to protect her.

Based on the e-mail message, Mr. Rove’s disclosures are not criminal, said Bruce S. Sanford, a Washington lawyer who helped write the law and submitted a brief on behalf of several news organizations concerning it to the appeals court hearing the case of Mr. Cooper and Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times. Ms. Miller has gone to jail rather than disclose her source.

“It is clear that Karl Rove’s conversation with Matt Cooper does not fall into that category” of criminal conduct, Mr. Sanford said. “That’s not ‘knowing.’ It doesn’t even come close.”

Since, as the Times story makes clear, Rove is not a target of Fitzgerald’s probe I would have one word of caution for the Times and all you lefties out there who are preparing to charge up the hill and take no prisoners in this affair.

Tread carefully. When it comes out how many reporters actually knew that Valerie Plame was both Wilson’s wife and a CIA operative, this scandal could disappear overnight:

There has been some dispute, moreover, about just how secret a secret agent Ms. Wilson was.

“She had a desk job in Langley,” said Ms. Toensing, who also signed the supporting brief in the appeals court, referring to the C.I.A.’s headquarters. “When you want someone in deep cover, they don’t go back and forth to Langley.”

Maybe a reporter mistook her super-secret authentic CIA decoder ring for evidence she was a spook.

UPDATE

I’ll have updates throughout the day as the blogswarm grows.

Captain Ed:

The New York Times plays the Rove card to the hilt today, putting their martyrdom of Judith Miller front and center while extending a mystery that the media created and the Times could immediately resolve. Instead, we get breathless accounts of non-comments from the White House that prompt 2,000-word front-page articles that wind up telling us nothing:

Why solve the mystery when there’s a feeding frenzy to feed?

Michelle Malkin points to the agressiveness of the White House Press Corps:

I actually have no problem with McClellan getting justifiably barked at during his daily briefings (if only we had more Les Kinsolvings to press the White House from the right, especially on illegal immigration). But isn’t it funny how Beltway reporters who get all prissy and whiny about one Fox News Channel reporter asking the DNC chairman one mildly aggressive question have no problem turning pack-rabid on McClellan?

Ah! But as you well know, Michelle, Fox doesn’t employ real journalists…only shills for the White House.

National Journal’s Beltway Blogroll has a great roundup of links mostly from the salivating left but also a few from the right.

Betsy Newmark makes a great point:

So the media can rant all they want, but days when we are at war in Iraq, terrorists are bombing Londoners on the way to work, North Korea and Iran are inches away from getting nuclear bombs, and it’s summer and vacation time, I don’t think most people outside the Beltway and the political blogosphere care one jot about Karl Rove.

One of the very things that’s giving life to this story - a news slowdown during the summer - could spell its doom for a long haul, wall to wall, feeding frenzy.

The Commissar believes (as I do) that Rove’s days are numbered - or at least they should be:

The problem is that Rove is more than just a key advisor, more than a member of the C-i-C’s inner circle. Rove and Bush go way back. Some might say that Rove “made” Bush. I don’t know if Bush can fire Rove. Not in a “skeletons in the closet” sense, but in a loyalty sense. Bush is famous for his loyalty; his loyalty to Rove has must be very, very strong. This will have to build to a typhoon-level storm that threatens to bring down Bush himself before Rove gets the axe.

Like Michelle, Lorie Byrd at Polipundit is focusing on the disgraceful exhibition yesterday by the White House Press Corps during their daily briefing with Scott McClellan. And she adds this:

I think that when the White House made their biggest mistake, though, was by not attacking Joe Wilson’s and Democrats’ lies earlier on. This was the beginning of the “Bush lied” mantra by the Democrats and it never should have been allowed. Democrats want to cry that Wilson was attacked by the White House, but by simply saying the guy misrepresented what was in his report and saying that he was not qualified in the first place and was only sent on the mission because his wife got him the job is not exactly hardball. If the Republicans ever grew a spine and decided to play hardball with the Democrats, even their buddies in the media could not save them from themselves.

I’m not sure the “Bush lied” meme started with the Joe Wilson imbroglio but Lorie is right that the White House too often ignored partisan attacks by the media which would later become urban legends. Like Bush saying that Saddam was involved directly in 9/11. Once its out there, a lie is a hard thing to knock down. And the vaunted Bush PR machine has done a piss poor job of handling issues like that.

By: Rick Moran at 3:49 am
11 Responses to “THE TIMES GOES FOR THE GOLD”
  1. 1
    AndyB Said:
    8:38 am 

    Something does not add up about why Judith Miller voluntarily went to jail. Is there a reason she would rather go to jail than talk about her source to the grand jury? She had a waiver from her source in order to talk about it to the grand jury. So what stopped her?
    Something else does not add up either. The Times’ initial hysterics while calling for a special prosecutor fits their modus operand us. However, as soon as one of their own voluntarily decided to refuse to cooperate with that prosecution, the Times suddenly flip flopped into their freedom-of-speech-trumps-law mode.

  2. 2
    Mark in Mexico Trackbacked With:
    8:46 am 

    Press Briefing by Scott McClellan

    Keeping in mind that in this world today and, more specifically, in the United States, the issues that most concern people are (not in any particular order except for 1 and 2):

  3. 3
    The MaryHunter Said:
    8:49 am 

    Tony Snow has an inspired theory on this today: if not Karl Rove (since why would Miller fall on her sword for him), could it be that Rove’s and Miller’s source was… a reporter?!? Is she protecting a fellow journalist? :shock:

    There is so much nothing to this nothing story, but it will be pressed on, since the NYT and MSM generally hate Bush and Rove with an all-consuming hate, AND we’re nearing the summer news doldrums.

  4. 4
    TMH's Bacon Bits Trackbacked With:
    8:51 am 

    Kerry’s 180: Silence Is Golden, But…

    Hungry for material for the weekly Kerry’s 180 blogburst, I searched desperately this morning for some juicy quotes from the esteemed, the laudable, the junior senator from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, Sen. John “French-lo…

  5. 5
    Ed Foley Said:
    11:05 am 

    Will you guys really want to see this nonsense repeated with your names attached to it after Kuddles is frog-marched off to prison?

    Give it up, gang. Rove is cooked.

  6. 6
    Rick Moran Said:
    11:07 am 

    When even the NEW YORK TIMES publishes a story saying that Rove didn’t committ a crime, one has to ask what planet you came from and can I have a toke off of whatever you’re smoking?

  7. 7
    Ed Foley Said:
    11:55 am 

    Really? The NY Times has declared the investigation over and that Kuddles is off the hook?

    Wow. You’d think people would know more about that. As far as most folks can tell we’re just seeing the beginning of what promises to be a long investigation.

    After all, Cooper is only the first reporter to give testimony.

    But I’m sure you know better.

  8. 8
    Les Enfants Terrible Trackbacked With:
    1:30 pm 

    Exactly Who Outed Valerie Plame?

    The MSM is going after Rove because if the spotlight is taken off of him for even a second, there is the possibility that it will turn right back onto them. It is they, after all, who “outed” Valerie Plame. And it is they who now want to crucify Karl…

  9. 9
    Richard Flessington Said:
    3:19 pm 

    This week’s top priorities for George W. Bush:

    1) Get a muzzle for Karl “Blabbermouth” Rove. He’s smart and all, but what a big miuth he has sometimes!

    2) Find a nice quiet home for John Bolton. He needs the rest after all he’s been through these last couple months.

    3) See if anybody has forgotten my Social Security Reform package yet. We’re going to need to rework that one so people think I’ve come up with something new.

    4) Try and see if Dick can get back some of that money Halliburton swiped. We’re going to need it in 2006.

    5) Check w/ bandar and see what Osama has been up to lately.

    6) Are we going to Mars yet? Need to call NASA and find out.

  10. 10
    Fritz Said:
    4:32 pm 

    Joe Wilson uses the auspices of the CIA to make frivolous claims against the Bush Administration, Novak asks the correct question, Who is Joe Wilson and why was this partisan hack sent in the first place? The reason 9/11 happened is closer to the truth, this inside lack of transparency by the CIA undermines our national security. I understand why the media loves this story, it is their Machiavellian swords & daggers of pay-back. They hate the Bush Administration and any sexy headline like “Covert Agent” has legs. Sadly, this is another use of our transparency as a partisan weapon. The CIA should have never authorized Wilson to even mention his minor role of CIA intelligence gathering.

  11. 11
    Fritz Said:
    4:59 pm 

    Josh provides us with the stellar intellect of the Left. Never-mind that personnel inside the CIA were using the agency for partisan attacks, as long as the lies could be used to make political banter, it was worth it. The ends justify the means for our Marxist power.

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