Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Protection, Not Persecution

As today's Opinion Journal notes, Presidential advisor Karl Rove should actually be treated as a whistle-blower, not a law breaker. In conversations with Time's Matt Cooper and other journalists, Rove warned reporters about the credibility of Joe Wilson's claims about his infamous "uranium hunt" in Niger--a gig he clearly secured with the help of his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame.

Oh, and lest we forget, several media outlets are reporting that Ms. Plame apparently "outed" herself in the early 1990s, when she was still working undercover for the agency. During a "heavy make-out session" with her future husband, Ms. Plame reportedly told Wilson that she had a confession to make, then revealed the true nature of her employment with the CIA (her official cover was that of a State Department employee, assigned to a U.S. embassy in western Europe. Long before Robert Novak's column, Ms. Plame's identity as undercover operative was (apparently) one of the CIA's worst-kept secrets. In fact, a picture of Ms. Plame has appeared on Wilson's website for sometime, identifying her as the former ambassador's wife.

While the MSM keeps hinting that the Plame affair is something akin to Watergate, there is still no evidence of illegal activity by Mr. Rove, and I'm guessing he'll never face prosecution. But the media tempest will continue for a few more weeks, egged on by Congressional Democrats, eager to nail the Bush Administration for any offense, real or imagined.

According to the definition of Government Accountability Project (GAP), Mr. Rove appears to meet the definition of a whistle-blower, by refusing to condone wrong-doing in the workplace. What wrongdoing, you say? First of all, by recommending her husband for the Africa trip, Ms. Plame violated various nepotism statutes that govern federal service. And, secondly, you can make the case that Ambassador Wilson knowingly filed a false report on his Niger visit, since his "findings" have been clearly contradicted by later panels, including the British report, chaired by Lord Butler, which found ample evidence that Saddam had sought yellowcake uranium from African sources.

One final thought: why has Judith Miller refused to talk to the grand jury investigating the "leak" that exposed Ms. Plame? If Karl Rove was also her source, she is covered by the same release given to Mr. Cooper. She refuses to honor the release, claiming it was made under duress. But could it be that Ms. Miller and her employer, The New York Times, are attempting to protect other sources, perhaps the Wilsons themselves?

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