07/15/2005 10:46 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Go Slow on Rove

Maybe today"s Times story is completely wrong—the fact that it's single-sourced is truly odd—but the case against Karl Rove so far is murky.

Assuming the truth of published reports—granted, a big assumption—we now know that Rove didn't call the two reporters, Cooper and Novak, to plant this item (they called him about other issues); that he appears to have mentioned Valerie Plame's status only in an offhand way; that he didn't know very much about her; and that he didn't mention her name.

So far, doesn't sound much like a deliberate, orchestrated campaign to smear Joseph Wilson. More like casual conversations with reporters that included a dollop of Washington gossip, which turned out to be more loaded than Rove realized.

So far, it also doesn't sound like Rove broke the law.

What I'm wondering is, Who told Robert Novak in the first place? That may be the real scandal here....