Rove 101, Dumbed Down
Ok I have had to hash this out many a time, so I decided it is time for a recap. Granted I will give the media kudos for actually pulling a Gipetto and nailing some legs onto this story (David Gregory, your so dreamy!). However, the media can only go so far in terms of educating the public on a story this large. Most people still don't understand Watergate (I barely get it, and if it weren't for Deep Throat showing his decrepid face, I would have been even more in the dark).
Since I tend to see this story crystal clear, yet the clearest it gets on CNN is mud, let's do a short recap on the Rove/Plame/Bush Gate. Cuz many of my friends (even the really smart ones) have asked me "What is the big deal with Rove?"
Since they are the only loyal readers I have, I feel obligated as a card carrying member of Blogopolis to essplain.
Ok way back in 2003 before the war but when President War Criminal was starting to talk smack about Iraq's WMDs, Joe Wilson (once the US ambassador to Iraq under Bush Sr.) was sent to Niger to find out if Saddam had been shopping for enriched Uranium.
He found none.
President WC still told the American people in a state of the Union address that in fact Saddam DID go shopping for yellowcake in Niger. So Joe wrote this piece in the NYTimes oped page saying Bush is a liar on the Niger Yellow Cake story.
President WC hates liars. So Karl Rove talked to Bob Novak and said, hey Joe's mission is shit because his wife over at CIA reccomended him for the job! So how can you trust a nepotist's report? That was basically the gist of Novak's column.
This is when the story gets muddied up. Cuz Novak, Judy Miller, Matt Cooper, and even Big Tim Russert and lots of other reporters were roped into an investigation. This investigation was commented on by President WC and Scottie Doo durin this time. They basically said that anyone responsible would be fired.
Ok apparently, the prosecutor was able to find all these reporters (some of which didn't talk or write about the case) through phone records from the White House.
Now what has occured inside that court house has been rather hush hush until very recently. Presumeably, Novak said it was Rove cuz he was subpoenaed as well. Mind you the whole purpose of this grand jury federal investigation is to determine if the leak in and of itself was a crime. Due to the way the law was written, its a little tough to convict someone over it.
Lots of tangents must stay focused! Ok, presumeably when Rove was on the stand he said he wasn't the leak otherwise this case would have been closed a long time ago. For all we know Novak (who has been terribly silent the entire time) gave up all kinds of info at the first calling. What we do know is that it came down to Judy Miller and Matt Cooper. Judy fro NYTimes, and Matt from Time magazine. Now Judy and Matt fought this all the way to the Supreme Court which after being denied a hearing at that level, Judy went to jail because she didn't want to blab about who her source was.
Matt Cooper got bailed out of jail in the nick of time by his bosses at Time. They released some emails to the prosecutor and based on a waiver form that Rove signed a while back as well, Cooper felt it was OK to testify.
Granted I have sped up the clock on this whole thing quite a bit. Remember this investigation has been going on for a long time.
So here we are. Time leaked one of Cooper's emails to Newsweek. Now we know for sure that Rove was at least one of the people who leaked to at least Matt Cooper the (who actually did write about Plame being Wilson's wife) the Plame info.
The legalese is wether or not Rove knew Plame was undercover CIA or just plain CIA. This piece at TPM cafe pretty much clears the air on that one. Basically, yes everyone knew she was undercover. She was also working on WMD, which is why she had a chance to reccomend her husband for a WMD fact finding mission to Niger, however, as the TPM piece states, she didn't have authority to solely OK Wilson for the job.
So yes Valerie Plame was undercover at the time. Did Rove know she was UC? That will probably be the question that will incriminate Karl. Either that OR, Karl was subponead in the past. If Karl said in the past that he wasn't the leak, and that now we find out that indeed he was the leak. Karl purguring himself will also be incriminating.
Now to answer everyone's final question. Why is this such a big deal? At a time when this countries President was trumping up WMD data, he was caught in a lie by Joe Wilson. Incidentally had Wilson's warnings been heeded, we could have discounted that whole mushroom cloud that Saddam was totally uncapable of making. We probably could have avoided this quagmire of a war. So the President's right hand man decided to take political revenge on Joe by endangering his wife and making her and any of her international spies completely irrelevant to this nation's WMD intelligence gathering machine. So a whole division of people were rendered useless in terms of intelligence gathering (like the kind we really needed before the war and before 9/11) at best, and placed in extreme danger at worse. Picture mullahs realizing the guy they have been talking to about their was in cohoots with American spies!
All for political revenge.
Now since phone records were the chief tool in rounding up people in to testify in this case, it strikes me odd that this needs to stop at Rove (as much as the media and Democrats would like it to). One reason as Digby points out, is that there was a flurry of phone calls after Novak ran his piece which could have been folks planning a cover up story. You know "this is our story and we are sticking to it" type of stuff.
Now since the President and Karl are buddies (remember Karl created Bush) it wouldn't be beyond me that the President knew about all of this stuff. I mean one of those post-leak phone calls had to be to the President, which if they are subpoenaing people based on those records, the President should also be subpoenaed.
And if President WC lies under oath, well that and a blow job gets you a ticket on the Impeachment subway.
So yes, the facts are Rove has committed a major political and legal fumble and hopefully he will go to jail. Because substantively, he placed political revenge above national security, and intelligence gathering missions. Hopefully the technicalities of the law itself won't legally exhonerate him. And since I don't expect the same media blitz outside of this court room that we had for Michael Jackson, and I all those legal analysts don't want to be on CNN anymore. I don't expect the general public to completely understand what is happening under their very aruban-missing-teenager-obsessed noses.
So the press will not make the link between Rove and the President. However, I think that is the natural progression of things. If some Democrats got behind this one a bit their political future would be in much better shape.
So the dumbed down version once more, the president who vowed to keep WMD out of evildoers hands under his watch, allowed his right hand man to destroy any efforts Valerie Plame was dilligently working on to try and find WMDs wherever they exhisted.
That my friends is called putting national security at a major risk. And that is why Karl Rove is a big deal. This may be bigger than Clinton's BJ.