(Courtesy of Evan Derkacz)
Karl and Karma
by James Moore
Down here in Texas, many of us have almost given up on obscure concepts like justice and the ephemeral notion of karma. Since the late 1970s, we have watched Karl Rove push so hard on ethical boundaries that he has turned lying into a conventional political tactic. Instead of being prosecuted or humiliated, he has risen in the Republican Party. And there are already signs he is a few steps ahead of the federal investigators trying to resolve the mysteries of the Valerie Plame affair.
He always starts his evasions by parsing language and law. Rove's attorney has quickly conceded that his client spoke to Matt Cooper of Time, and other reporters. This is the presidential advisor sending forth his minions to frame the ensuing discussion.
"Of course, I talked to the reporters," the reasoning goes, "I've got the same First Amendment rights in the White House as every other citizen."
Positioning is Rove's favorite political sport and that's the purpose of this admission. It's a metaphorical "so what" shrug of the shoulders. But the sub text of Rove's words shows another strategy. The presidential advisor undoubtedly knows he is guilty of a federal crime but, for obvious political reasons, he needs it to be something less than treason. Perjury will be his default position. The political harm to be done to his president and his party for a conviction of treason is incalcuable.
And the federal investigators appear to be making a case for perjury. The American Prospect has already reported that, in his 2003 appearances before the federal grand jury, Rove said he had not spoken to reporters about Valerie Plame's identity until after her name was published in Robert Novak's column. Unfortunately for Rove, early reports indicate that the e-mails being turned over to the federal prosecutor by Time magazine apparently show Rove was in communication with reporter Matt Cooper well in advance of Novak's piece. Sending such e-mails directly from his West Wing computer is not the kind of mistake Rove can be expected to make but Cooper's identification of his source through Time communications ought to facilitate a simple case of perjury against Rove, particularly if Judith Miller of the New York Times can be compelled to stop protecting a source who appears to have betrayed the entire country.
Rest of the Essay