Rove Is A Bad Bad Man

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Many people are ready to string up Karl Rove and send him to prison. For what, exactly?

Let's take a quick look at the facts as we know them:

It is a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert agent.

Karl Rove essentially identified Valerie Plame to Matt Cooper, according to email dated July 11. He did not identify her as covert, and we do not know he knew she was covert, if indeed she was covert (we will assume for the sake of argument that she was).

Matt Cooper wrote his story on July 13. Bob Novak published his infamous story on July 14.

Rove said in public he did not say identify Plame until after Novak published his story.

I am not omitting or misrepresenting any salient fact to the question of criminal wrongdoing, that I am aware of.

Neither of the two parts of the crime are satisfied thus far. We don't know he knew she was covert. But more importantly at this stage, we don't know if he even revealed her identity. Yes, Novak published three days later, but maybe Novak contacted the WH for confirmation, and got to Rove, and at that point Rove reasonably considered her to be already revealed. You can't reveal what is already revealed.

And quite possible, the only reason Rove even knew about Plame *at all* is because Novak told him. You can't convict someone for releasing information he got from a reporter, that he has no reason to suspect is secret.

The important facts here would be to find out when Novak knew, and whether he contacted the White House for confirmation, and who caught wind of it there, and when.

[Update: Apparently Cooper wrote his story the day before Novak's was published, but Cooper's story mentions Novak's story specifically. Did Cooper know Novak knew before Novak's story was published, or was that added to the story later? If he did know, how did he know?]

That Rove said he didn't say her name until after Novak's publication is mostly irrelevant, even if he was lying and not merely mistaken: he wasn't under oath, and the legal distinction between before and after is slight, if it exists at all, as long as Novak already had, and disclosed to the White House, the information.

That said, if events did play out like this, Rove will likely have to resign anyway, despite not violating any laws, even if he had no idea she was covert, because it just looks bad to people who either just hate Rove and assume (or pretend to assume) the worst, or who don't understand the important nuances of the actual facts.

It could very well be that Rove was entirely in the wrong here and did violate the law. I suspect we will find out soon enough. I'm just saying there are several plausible explanations, some that completely exonerate him and some that completely condemn him, and I have little respect for those opinions offered from the Island of Conclusions.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on July 13, 2005 9:20 AM.

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