Wednesday, July 27, 2005

An Editorial from the Los Angeles Times
(Can you dig it?)

Operation Coverup

Scandals metastasize. That is the pattern since Watergate. What starts out looking like a small, isolated incident gradually reveals itself to be part of a larger abuse of power. Meanwhile, an unraveling coverup adds new elements. Is that happening now with the scandal over White House leaks of the identity of a CIA agent?

Some folks say that as we learn more, the scandal is getting smaller, not larger. Valerie Plame was a CIA functionary commuting openly to agency headquarters, not a spy working behind enemy lines. The law against revealing the identities of intelligence agents is complicated and probably wasn't broken in this case. And the story line gets muddier: Journalists may have revealed Plame's identity to White House honchos.

We don't buy it. However they came to learn about this juicy factoid, people in the Bush administration misused an intelligence secret to discredit a critic of its Iraq policy. And outing Plame, whether illegal or not, did harm to our national security. Plame may work in Langley, Va., but she worked with others who work in more dangerous locales. You only need to imagine how Republicans would have treated such a leak in the Clinton administration to dismiss their protestations that it's all no big deal.

It's a good bet that there has already been some lying under oath. One theory about the puzzling tenacity and ferocity of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald — why he is sending journalists to jail for refusing to provide information he already has about an activity that probably wasn't even a crime by people other than the ones he is persecuting — is that he's switched his attention from the leak itself to perjury by White House officials who were asked about it earlier in the investigation.

Perjury is your classic coverup method, and still is used when other methods have failed. Advances in the science of spin since Watergate, however, have made a high-risk, Nixon-style coverup unnecessary in many situations.

President Bush says he won't publicly comment about the Plame case while the investigation continues. But the reason the investigation continues is partly his fault. He should have determined early on who leaked Plame's CIA identity to members of the press, and dealt with it.

Why didn't Bush two years ago just ask Karl Rove and a few others in the administration whether they had leaked Plame's identity to Bob Novak and the others? Why doesn't he ask Rove now? Is it because he knows the answer? Or because he doesn't want to have to fire Rove?

As a precaution against such a catastrophe, Bush now says he will fire anyone found to have broken the law by outing an undercover intelligence operative. Previously he had said he would fire anyone who outs an intelligence officer, period.

The coverup, in short, is going well.

5 comments:

CLD said...

Why they feel the need to give the appearance of "lessening" the secrecy of Plame's job escapes me. There is plenty of evidence to support her working undercover. The fact is, that doesn't matter.

Folks, anyone who works in law enforcement, who is a sworn officer has the option to protect their loved ones and themselves by having their identities, phone numbers and home addresses kept unpublished.

By publishing her maiden name [which she used for her undercover work] and stating that she worked for the CIA, in a newpaper article, she was put at risk as were the operatives in other countries she'd associated with.

Bush not only needs to fire Rove, he needs to be sure he is brought to justice. Whether he has a shred of integrity remains to be seen.

Karen Zipdrive said...

Please note my new comments system.
Thank you, Chari!
Now whenever a slimy little toad like Mattie boy wants to abuse my Blog comments, I can personally boot his worthless ass off.
Matt- get some professional help. You are the most annoying creep I've encountered in 4 years of Blogging and THE ONLY person I have ever banned.

Karen Zipdrive said...

As far as outing Valerie Plame goes, come on, even the Mafia doesn't fuck with guys' wives.
This just goes to show you, the Rove White House has no limits to the depths it will go to fuck over a political enemy.
People wonder why the media for so long has handled these crooks with kid gloves- how about wanting to keep their jobs?
It took Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to threaten jail time to reporters to break this thing loose.
Even then, Bush acolyte Judith Miller took jail time rather than rat on Karl 'Corleone' Rove and George W.'Fredo' Bush.
Wait- I insult these fictitious Mafia characters- they never went after anyone's wife to get revenge.

Kate said...

Outstanding job on the comments, Chari! I'm soooo happy! Now we can come and go with ease...

All good points. I am particularly rubbed raw by the semantics I see evolving in this case and how hypocritical the Repubs are now that the Clinton shoe ("I did not have sex with that woman!") is on the other foot (Who's 'undercover'?).

concrete shoe; lead foot

Sincerely,

Kate S., Alaska

JimBob said...

Cool job on the new comments system!

Chari - how do I get a cool icon to show up on my posts like yours?