Tuesday, July 5, 2005

What Do You Know?

Now that the heat is on Karl Rove, he and his lawyer are becoming adept at doing the delicate wordplay that the right wing so roundly stomped on Bill Clinton for doing.

…Lawrence O’Donnell, the MSNBC analyst who first broke the Rove/Cooper link on Friday, wrote on the Huffington Post blog today, that Rove’s lawyer had “launched what sounds like an I-did-not-inhale defense. He told Newsweek that his client ‘never knowingly disclosed classified information.’ Knowingly.

“Not coincidentally, the word ‘knowing’ is the most important word in the controlling statute ( U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421). To violate the law, Rove had to tell Cooper about a covert agent ‘knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States.'”

Yeah, that’s right up there with defining what the definition of “is” is and Al Gore’s famous “no controlling authority.” Rove is hoping that we will believe that he didn’t know that revealing Ms. Plame’s name was breaking the law. Uh huh.

On another level, if it wasn’t Rove who leaked it, how many other people in the White House knew who Valerie Plame was and what she did? The identity of covert CIA operatives isn’t common knowledge among your average White House staffer. On top of that, this is a White House that takes pride in their discipline and loyalty. Whoever leaked the name didn’t do it as a rogue operation; this was planned and approved by people at the top. And you can bet that they were fully aware of the the provisions of U.S. Code: Title 50: Section 421.

As Richard Nixon once said, “When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.”