Thursday, October 20, 2005

Who Knew?

From the Washington Post:

White House adviser Karl Rove told the grand jury in the CIA leak case that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, may have told him that CIA operative Valerie Plame worked for the intelligence agency before her identity was revealed, a source familiar with Rove’s account said yesterday.

In a talk that took place in the days before Plame’s CIA employment was revealed in 2003, Rove and Libby discussed conversations they had had with reporters in which Plame and her marriage to Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV were raised, the source said. Rove told the grand jury the talk was confined to information the two men heard from reporters, the source said.

Rove has also testified that he also heard about Plame from someone else outside the White House, but could not recall who.

The account is the first time a person familiar with Rove’s testimony has provided clues about where the deputy chief of staff learned about Plame, and confirmed that Rove and Libby were involved in a conversation about her before her identity became public. The disclosure seemed to further undermine the White House’s contention early in the case that neither man was in any way involved in unmasking Plame.

For an administration that sold itself as “disciplined” and took pride in its ability to maintain silence and control over news, what we’re seeing is more akin to a rehearsal of the Keystone Kops of damage control, confusion, and memory lapses.

It’s also interesting to see that Karl Rove is pointing the finger at Scooter Libby and playing the “I can’t recall” game. This again is from a group of people who pride themselves in loyalty to their cause and to their team — until the going gets rough. Then they squeal like Ned Beatty in Deliverance. So much for the loyalty canard. If these people somehow manage to escape being indicted for criminal acts, it can only be considered to have happened by the grace of just plain dumb luck as opposed to clever planning.

This klutzfest has apparently riled President Bush.

[…] the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.

There’s the new morality for you: when you do something rotten, don’t leave any evidence.