Tuesday, July 12, 2005
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD
President Bush has plenty of evidence to begin acting on Karl Rove's involvement in the disclosure of a secret agent's name to exact political vengeance. The president's choice will say a lot about whether he intends to control abuses of power within what some see as one of the most power-hungry administrations the United States has ever experienced.
The president ought to be outraged that, so far, one reporter has gone to jail for acting honestly while some in his administration continue to be free of consequences for revealing Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. The leak of her name and role to Bush-friendly columnist Robert Novak in 2003 was a violation of federal law, if done deliberately.
For reasons that aren't clear but should cause great unease, Novak apparently faces no legal difficulty while New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who didn't write about the disclosure, sits in jail for rightly refusing to disclose her sources as a matter of high principle.
Bush administration officials became angry at Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, in July 2003, when he revealed that an investigative trip he made to Niger in 2002 showed that Iraq had made no effort to acquire uranium there. In a New York Times Op-Ed article, Wilson said the administration had twisted the evidence to make a case for its invasion of Iraq earlier in the year.
Now, Newsweek reports show that Rove, Bush's closest political adviser and currently deputy White House chief of staff, was one of the aides discussing Plame's work with reporters. And it was done in precisely the context everyone understood lay behind her outing: Rove was trying to discredit Wilson.