Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush Knew About Rove's Role Two Years Ago

The New York Daily News reports today that President Bush knew two years ago that Karl Rove had talked to reporters about Valerie Plame’s role in sending her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq may have materials for weapons of mass destruction. The Daily News writes: “An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News. ‘He made his displeasure known to Karl, a presidential counselor told the Daily News. ‘He made his life miserable about this.’" But he didn’t fire him.

When news of the leak of a covered CIA agent triggered a federal investigation, President Bush told the press he would fire the person or persons responsible for the leak. Although Joe Wilson claimed from the outset that Karl Rove was responsible for the leak, his role in the leak did not become publicly known until Newsweek reporter Matthew Cooper testified before the grand jury and revealed that he had spoken to Rove about Plame. As reported by the Daily News, White House sources suggested that Rove had misled the President about his role in the leak once Cooper disclosed his source, but that it turns out was just to protect the President. The Daily News writes: “A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.”

A particularly troubling aspect of the Daily News report is why Bush was upset with Rove. “Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way," a the source told the Daily News. Or as Advance Indiana has described it, they conducted a “third rate leak.” If Bush had done what he told the press he planned to do if he found out who leaked Plame’s identity, his administration wouldn’t find itself in the mess it does today.

On another note, the New York Times reports today that U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will not issue a final report. But he is expected to ask the grand jury to issue indictments in connection with the investigation next week. The White House is apparently expecting the worst. The Times reports that the White House is already discussing replacements for Rove, including communications chief, Dan Bartlett, Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt and an Advance Indiana favorite, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, a closeted gay man who, along with several other members of his staff, was outed by D.C. area bloggers earlier this year.

No comments: