Saturday, August 6, 2005

Roving Reporter

Elisabeth Bumiller provides a little background on the connection between Karl Rove and Bob Novak. It goes back to 1992 when Rove worked for Bush I and Novak took an interest in both the Bush family and the people around them

These hot months here will be remembered as the summer of the leak, a time when the political class obsessed on a central question: did Karl Rove, President Bush’s powerful adviser, commit a crime when he spoke about a C.I.A. officer with the columnist Robert D. Novak?

Whatever a federal grand jury investigating the case decides, a small political subgroup is experiencing the odd sensation that this leak has sprung before. In 1992 in an incident well known in Texas, Mr. Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect the first President Bush on suspicions that Mr. Rove had leaked damaging information to Mr. Novak about Robert Mosbacher Jr., the campaign manager and the son of a former commerce secretary.


“They’ve known each for a long time, but they are not close friends,” said a person who knows both men and who asked not to be named because of the investigation into a conversation by Mr. Novak and Mr. Rove in July 2003 about Ms. Wilson, part of a case that has put a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, in jail for refusing to testify to the grand jury.

The two men share a love of history and policy, as well as reputations as aggressive partisans and hotheads.

People who have been officially briefed on the case have said Mr. Rove was the second of two senior administration officials cited by Mr. Novak in his column of July 14, 2003, that identified Ms. Wilson by her maiden name, Valerie Plame, and said she was a C.I.A. operative.

The larger question has been whether Mr. Rove might have been using the columnist to confirm Ms. Plame’s identity to punish or undermine her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had accused the Bush administration of leading the nation to war with Iraq on false pretenses.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and once we form a routine, our instincts are to follow it, regardless of the changing circumstances around us. So it would be natural for the connection between Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak to remain as it was back in 1992. But this time the stakes are a little higher: rather than exact vengence for a lost business deal in a political campaign, it involves leaking classified information to exact vengence for calling into question the reasons for starting a war. But to Karl Rove, that doesn’t matter. In all his dealings, he’s never indicated that he cares about anything other than what’s in it for him or his master, and in Bob Novak he’s found a hook-up. They use each other to advance their own causes — Rove’s political agenda and Novak’s tabloid reporting — and then go on their way. That sounds like some action that Gannon/Guckert would have on his website.