I think the press has been really tough on Karl Rove and the administration over this Valerie Plame scandal, so I wanted to come to their defense a little bit. First of all, Plame might have been a covert CIA operative, but she once sat in a desk and shuffled papers around. If you’re not shooting people in the field every day, then how do you go around with a straight face calling yourself a secret agent?
Secondly, Karl Rove was just trying to prevent the press from making yet another error by reporting on Ambassador Wilson’s claims. Joe Wilson was lying about his trip to Niger. The Iraqis were, in fact, trying to buy uranium to build nuclear weapons. That’s why we found all those nuclear bombs in Iraq labeled “Made in Niger.”
Sure, there was a memo circulating in the administration identifying Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. And it was marked with an “S.” “S” normally stands for “Secret,” but to be fair to Rove, he might have thought in this case, “S” stood for “Send to Reporter.”
Earlier President Bush agreed that anyone who was involved in the leak of Plame’s identity should be fired. He said the leakers would be “taken care of.” But to be fair to the President, that quote is taken out of context. He probably meant, “If it turns out Karl leaked this classified information, we should really take care of him. Maybe get him a spa treatment or a facial.”
But wait, I think I’m not being fair enough to the President, because he later clarified his remarks and said “if someone committed a crime,” they would be fired. That does make sense. It’s a little hard to be an effective Deputy Chief of Staff while you’re serving twenty to life in San Quentin.
The most severe crime related to revealing classified information is, of course, treason. You can get the death penalty for treason. Here again, I’m with the President – if anyone is executed, they definitely shouldn’t be working at the White House. I know I wouldn’t hire anyone who was executed.
Come to think of it, I don’t know why they gave all those priests accused of sexual molestation such a hard time. They might have been “involved” in those crimes but most of them weren’t convicted. In fact, a great number of the priests weren’t even charged. Under the Bush standard, the Catholic Church should have refused to comment about an “ongoing investigation” and stuck by the priests who were “involved” but not convicted.
Actually, there’s someone else that appears to be perfectly qualified to work at the White House under the new Bush standard – OJ. If they don’t convict, Bush won’t evict.
Here’s a question that reporters might ask the administration: Given the new Bush standard, is there anything someone working at the White House could do – outside of a criminal act that leads to conviction -- that would get them fired?
If starting a war with the wrong country, underestimating the costs of that war by hundreds of billions of dollars, getting thousands of American soldiers killed with abysmal post-war planning and jeopardizing the lives of CIA agents and their contacts for political purposes doesn’t get you fired, what on God’s green earth would get you fired by the Bush administration?
But to be fair to the President, he probably would fire Rove if he did something truly worthy of a giant national scandal … like sleeping with an intern.