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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's Not About the Name "Plame"! 

I'm gonna go nuts! The GOP has successfully changed the frame of the debate about Rove's revelation to reporter Matt Cooper of the employment of Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife. It's driving me crazy. Everywhere I turn I hear people saying, "Well, Rove didn't reveal her name." So what!???? Her name was not a secret. It was also no secret that Joe Wilson had a wife. Her name and relationship to Joe Wilson did not have national security implications.

The fact that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA is the key fact here. Bush's right-hand man Rove told a reporter that fact, under a "double super secret" promise, and that is the other key fact in this so-called Plame affair.

Who cares if it was not a technical violation of the law. (I concede nothing about the law; haven't looked carefully at the statute so I have no basis upon which to judge the legality-- yet.) Do we want officials to exercise their judgment in that manner?

Ken Mehlman of the GOP is out appearing wherever he can getting the GOP talking points out. The GOP's main defense of Rove? He told Cooper about Plame as a courtesy to prevent Cooper from erroneusly crediting the VP and/or the DCI with having authorized Wilson's trip to Niger.

Ok, think about that for a nanosecond. Plenty of alternatives to revealing Plame's occupation existed to prevent the alleged misinformation. If that were all Rove wanted to do, why did he need to tell Cooper on a "super secret" basis?

Rove could have (1) waited until a story was written and then ask for a correction to the record; (2) advised the VP and the DCI to issue press releases explaining that they did not know or authorize the trip (I think the DCI acknowledged something about it later, but the VP has all along denied any knowledge of Wilson's trip); (3) spoken to Cooper on the record to explain the "truth." There were other ways for accomplish the goal his defenders now claim he had by revealing the occupation of Wilson's wife.

The fact that so many alternative methods existed to accomplish Rove's claimed goal proves the lie. The only plausible reason for telling Cooper that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and ok'd his Niger trip was to out her and punish Wilson.

Rove even felt it ok to tell one reporter, after Novak revealed Plame's occupation, that Wilson's wife was "fair game." That hardly supports the GOP assertion that Rove's motives were pure and in the public interest.

It is just appalling to me that anyone could come to Rove's defense under the circumstances. Any other President would have had Rove's resignation long before this point. (Well, maybe not Nixon.) But personal loyalty is more meaningful than ensuring the safety of our CIA operatives, particularly one working on WMD proliferation like Plame.

Remember, it's not about the name "Plame." It's about the betrayal of a CIA agent who spent more than 20 years working in defense of her country by a college drop-out who managed to work his way up to the top of the US government by winning political campaigns.

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