Monday, July 18, 2005

Floor exercise

Despite her legendarily flexible musculature, your blogstress finds herself a bit knotted up over this whole Rove-Plame-Cooper-Miller affair.

At first, your cybertrix just hated--HAY-TED--that mean Patrick Fitzgerald, the overzealous special prosecutor who, in his quest to determine just who in the Bush administration leaked the name of an undercover CIA operative to several reporters, ran all amok over the First Amendment and put the New York Times' Judith Miller in jail for failing to fold when the court demanded she name her source. (Most commentators have failed to note that it was the only woman among the three targeted reporters who stuck to her guns regarding her confidentiality agreement.) Truly, how could a guerrila journalist such as your Webwench--whose very existence rests on an enlightened reading of the U.S. Constitution--possibly like a prosecutor like that?

How high does it go?
Then we learned the rumors were true: that presidential advisor Karl Rove--that smug, pug-faced purveyor of the smear tactic--was involved in the leaking process, despite the White House's previous protestations to the contrary. And Rove is looking like at least one of the real targets of Fitzgerald's investigation. (Okay, so maybe Fitzgerald's not that bad; he's just terribly misguided on the meaning of the First Amendment.)

But does that mean that Judy Miller's in jail for protecting Karl Rove? Or someone even worse? Man, that would be a bitter pill.

Now that Rove says he learned of Valerie Plame's CIA status from columnist Robert Novak, and not the other way around, one has to wonder if Fitzgerald's sights aren't set even higher than Deputy Chief of Staff Rove, a thought that certainly shines Fitzgerald's image up a bit, at least in the eyes of your net-tête. You see, in the event that Karl Rove has stumbled into telling the truth, another highly placed source would likely be the original font of the reporter's information.

While Washington buzzes about the possibility of Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, being the original source of the information, your blogstress offers a more delicious speculation: what if it goes higher? Nu, who was personally running to the CIA to get more convenient intelligence on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction? (Not that your écrivaine knows, but perhaps you do, gentle reader.)

You see, that is what this is really all about. It's getting harder and harder to make the case that the administration didn't lie to the American people about Saddam's alleged possession of these weapons, which was the original pretext for getting into this awful war. And the White House is duly nervous, seeing as how that Zogby poll your cybertrix shamelessly flogs shows 42 percent of the American people saying that Bush should be impeached if he was shown to be telling such a lie.

Who is Valerie Plame, and why do we care?
For those outside the Beltway, who have lives to tend to and such, let us explain just who the lovely Ms. Plame is, why she is loathed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Valerie Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was sent, by the CIA, to the African country of Niger, to discern whether that nation had sold something called yellowcake uranium to the Iraqi govenment, as the Bush administration claimed. In fact, Mr. Wilson says that his trip to Niger was arranged to satisfy a request to the CIA from Vice President Cheney's office to provide analysis of the yellowcake claim. Mr. Wilson, discerning that Niger had not sold yellowcake (or angel food or chocolate cake, for that matter) to Saddam, apparently brought back the wrong answer, because the administration continued to float the yellowcake theory. So Mr. Wilson wrote an op-ed piece about his findings in the New York Times even as administration officials continued to tout the yellowcake claim. This made people inside the White House very mad.

Then, some very mad person apparently decided to punish Mr. Wilson by making a reporter (or two or three) privy to the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on issues pertaining to weapons of mass destructon (WMD). This could effectively end Ms. Plame's CIA career and, in any event, place her or her contacts in danger.

Double-super-secret-background (ex-pi-al-ie-do-cious!)
After conservative commentator Robert Novak revealed the CIA status of Joe Wilson's wife in his column, President Bush assured the public that anyone in his administration found to have taken part in the leak would be "dealt with appropriately". White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters that anyone in the White House shown to be the leaker would "no longer be part of this administration."

None of that forestalled the appointment of a special prosecutor, who turned out to the be very zealous Patrick Fitzgerald of Illinois, now forever famous for jailing a New York Times reporter and causing some quaking and trembling in the White House.(Ironically--or perhaps not--that very same New York Times reporter is one who mistakenly reported as fact on WMD in the Iraqi desert that turned out not to exist. Hence, the utterly contemptuous and stupid cheering of a few depraved anti-war lefties at the thought of Ms. Miller in a prison jumpsuit.)

Adding spice to this already fragrant mix is this: Just yesterday, we learned of how Time magazine's Matt Cooper heard first from from Rove--on "double-super-secret-background," according to an e-mail Cooper sent to his editor--that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.

Known as "Bush's brain," Rove's indispensibilty was today revealed as the president backed off from his earlier promise to can any leakers. He now says that he will fire anybody who "broke the law" while leaking the identity of a CIA agenct to the press. He's apparently pretty sure that Rove will avoid prosecution, for the president could hardly keep a felon on the White House payroll. A mere traitor, well, c'mon--that's not so bad.

That 70s scandal
Your cybertrix would be remiss if she failed to mention her delight with the Greek chorus that has appeared, in the guise of Watergate reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, to explain this drama to the rest of us. As luck would have it, their book, The Secret Man, about Woodward's relationship with Deep Throat (Woodward's double-super-secret Watergate source), is newly minted and the pair are making the rounds of the talk show at this fortuitous moment. And one senses that now, with their secret at last revealed, they're having a bit of fun with each other.

Oh, bodacious Webwench! Surely you're not equating today's events with that other scandal. Yo, that was a constitutional crisis 'n' everything.

Ah, dear Grasshopper. Open your eyes. Then check who's reading your e-mails and going through your garbage: Large Volume of F.B.I. Files Alarms U.S. Activist Groups.


Should her readers find the contortions of this story more nauseating than amusing, she strongly advises they read the très amusant piece, "Rove to the Rescue," by Charles P. Pierce, at The American Prospect Online.

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