Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Roving

This is a good summary of the Plame game right now, and the questions are good, too:

But let's look at what we can conclude from all this:

· The latest news reports indicate that Rove is the source who Cooper was trying to protect until last week -- and that Rove tipped Cooper about Plame three days before Robert Novak published his now-famous column exposing Plame's identity.

· Fitzgerald has asserted in his court filings that testimony from Cooper and now-jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller is all he needs to wrap up his investigation into whether a crime was committed. So what Rove said about Plame would therefore appear to be either one of two things -- or the only thing -- that Fitzgerald is still trying to nail down.

· Rove and his lawyer's denials that he was involved in telling reporters about Plame now appear to be at best based on Clintonian hairsplitting about whether he literally used her name and identified her as covert or he simply described her as the CIA-employed wife of Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, the administration critic that White House was eager to discredit at the time.

· President Bush and press secretary Scott McClellan's denials that Rove was involved in the Plame matter now appear to be at best based on the position that their responses to broad questions about Rove and Plame were met with narrowly constructed responses specifically about whether Rove leaked "classified information." Or is it possible Rove lied to them?

· And McClellan's frequent implication that, if Rove talked to reporters about Plame it was only after Novak's column had already come out, now appears suspect.

If Karl Rove, Bush's top political strategist, longtime friend and deputy chief of staff is actually indicted by Fitzgerald -- which now appears to be a possibility -- it would be an enormous blow to Bush's second term. Until Fitzgerald wraps up his highly secretive investigation, however, that's all just speculation.

So let's ask ourselves some more practical questions instead:

· Does Rove's current position pass the smell test?

· Taking into account Bush's previous statements about leaks, does this mean he now has no choice but to fire Rove?

· Did Rove keep all this from Bush?

· Or did Bush know, but chose to keep silent and do nothing?

I still can't quite believe that Rove would have been this stupid. Some cunning plan should crop up any day now, one about how all this is a forgery, how it's the so-called liberal media's fault or something along more Maffia lines. All that I have spotted on the wingnut blogs are true tinfoil theories: that Joe Wilson outed his own wife or that the outing doesn't count because everybody knew the name of Wilson's wife already.

Added: Billmon asks the same question about Rove's possible stupidity, and suggests that either Rove is hundred percent certain that he has covered his back or the whole thing is falling apart because Fitzgerald is more serious than the wingnuts thought.