Saturday, July 2, 2005

The White House Shakespeare Festival

All those years I spent studying playwriting and dramatic literature haven’t gone to waste. We have the makings of a really good drama this summer.

From Editor and Publisher:

Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to a federal judge, revealing who its reporter, Matt Cooper, identified as his source or sources in the Valerie Plame/CIA case, speculation runs rampant. Lawrence O’Donnell, senior MSNBC political analyst, now claims that at least two authoritative sources have confirmed that one name is top White House mastermind Karl Rove.

This afternoon, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff confirmed that Cooper did indeed talk to Rove for his story, but Rove’s lawyer denied he was the key leaker in the case.


According to Isikoff, [Rove’s attorney Robert] Luskin told Newsweek that Rove “never knowingly disclosed classified information” and that “he did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA.” Luskin declined, however, to discuss any other details. He noted that Rove had testified before the grand jury “two or three times” and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their conversations with him.

Okay, here’s how I see it. Karl Rove leaked the name of Valerie Plame to Bob Novak, who used it in the column that outed her. Matt Cooper talked to Rove and got the same story. He got into legal trouble when the investigation got to Cooper and he refused to reveal his sources. Rove, betting that a reporter would never rat him out, testified to the grand jury that he didn’t leak the name. He was confident that whatever he and the White House think of the press, they were sure the reporters would protect their source — after all, Woodward and Bernstein protected Deep Throat for over thirty years. No one thought it would go to the Supreme Court and certainly no one thought that Time magazine would cave and hand the notes over to the investigation.

Well, it did and they did, and now, assuming that O’Donnell and Isikoff are right, Mr. Rove is up Shit Creek. Not only did he leak classified information about a CIA undercover agent — a felony — he lied to a grand jury, which is perjury, which is also a felony. For those of you who have been in the Delta Quadrant since 1996, you can impeach a president over that. Yes, Karl Rove isn’t the president. But he works for one, and presumably he keeps in touch with him. He probably told someone in the White House what was up, and the people that knew didn’t tell anyone. That’s a conspiracy. That’s a felony. You can impeach a president over that, too.

Now, you can probably say that President Bush didn’t know what Karl Rove was doing. You can probably say that if President Bush ever asked Karl Rove if he knew who leaked the name, Karl Rove either lied to the president or answered in such a way as to give himself plausible deniability. Either way, do you really think it’s a good idea to have someone like that as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the White House? Do you really want a president that is either that gullible or incurious about a major breach of national security? Given the Bush White House’s iron-clad record of loyalty to those who do the president’s bidding and never get called to account for their errors, do you really think that President Bush, even if he was confronted with Mr. Rove confessing that he did indeed leak the name and lied to the investigation, would turn his back on Mr. Rove? I don’t think so.

I think there’s something of a Shakespearean theme in this whole situation. I’m not sure if it’s Richard III, Macbeth, or King John. Maybe all three; the arrogance of believing in the righteousness of one’s cause and assured of absolute power and loyalty, only to find out that it’s your friends that will screw you royally. I love repertory theatre.