Thursday, July 21, 2005

Indymedia on Karl Rove

Oh, what fun they all had. But then, sadly, the game was halted when rain broke out. The instant Rove drifted into the prosecutorial crosshairs, and in particular when his emails to Matt Cooper went public, the media canned the Tom Sawyer act—as though Rove had suddenly become unclean.
And what was he before? That's the outrage. The Washington press corps, which has proven repeatedly over the last five years that there is no gross lie or cheap stunt too stupid for them to fall for, never really clued in to the way Rove, the so-called master media manipulator, was managing his own image.
[. . .]
A persistent feature of the Rove profile is the reporter's close proximity to Rove in a casual, intimate setting (i.e., Elisabeth Bumiller astride the "bombastic, deceptively cherub-faced" Rove on the campaign plane as he "playfully withholds news of recent polls from the president"). Rove made sure to invite every reporter in Washington for a one-day private tour of his world of dirty jokes, harried cell-phone calls and ad-hoc strategizing. And every hack that took the tour came away with stars in his eyes, primed to make Rove into the larger-than-life villain role he had been fitted for.
The result of all this was to obscure the basic fact about Rove, which is that he's not a genius at all. He is a pig, and the only thing that distinguishes him is the degree of his brazenness and cruelty. It doesn't take a genius to send out fliers calling your opponent the "fag candidate." It doesn't take a genius to insinuate that your opponent's wife is a drug addict. There's nothing cunning or clever about saying your opponent came home from a war too fucked in the head to govern (particularly when your own candidate was too much of a coward to fight in the same war), or about whispering that that same candidate may have an illegitimate black child. And there's nothing clever about calling the followers of the opposition party traitorous and un-American, and claiming that they all want to coddle and appease the murderers of our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

The above is from Matt Taibbi's "Death To The Hog: To hell with the whole Karl Rove story" from the New York Press and Cedric e-mailed to note the article.

We're staying with this topic in this Indymedia roundup. Julia e-mails Brian Morton's "Excuses, Excuses" from Baltimore City Paper:

But think about it. You can give in to just about each and every excuse made in the last week regarding l'affaire Valerie (or Plameout, or Intimigate--choose your own scandal name), but the central fact remains the same. Plame's husband very well might be a Bush-hating Democrat. Partisans on Capitol Hill probably do smell blood in the water. "Everybody" might have known Valerie Plame was a CIA agent anyway. But the fact is that a member of George W. Bush's administration appears to have blown a covert agent's cover to a reporter for political reasons during wartime. The word "treason" gets bandied about an awful lot these days, and I've never been a fan of how it has been devalued. But in this case, it hardly gets any closer to the real thing, and even this president's father, once the head of the CIA, said so.
[. . .]
Growing up overseas among American-embassy personnel, I quickly learned that everyone knows that there are things one doesn't talk about out loud, like who among your group is with the CIA--because someone is. Those people often have to work in places and among people who are less than savory.
Valerie Plame worked for a front company called Brewster-Jennings. She wasn't a "black passport diplomat" as we were, and quite likely my father's in-embassy spook colleague was; Plame was "all the way in." And the minute Robert Novak and his White House sources (and he says there were two of them) blew her cover, he blew the cover of everyone she ever worked with who said they were employed by "Brewster-Jennings." That is truly despicable.

Brady e-mails "Karl Rove's Defense is No Defense" by H.C. Kennedy (Tennessee Independent Media Center):

The Right Wing is arguing that Rove did not know that Valerie Plame was a covert agent and is therefore not guilty. They are arguing that Rove does not have the requisite intent under the statute to be culpable for committing the crime of releasing the name of a covert agent, because he did not know that Plame was a covert agent. But the plain meaning of the statute shows that this line of argument does not matter . . .
The statute does not require Rove to have known that Plame was a covert agent. All that the statute requires is that Rove intended to reveal the identity of the person who happens to be covert.

It is to Rove's misfortune that the person he intentionally named happened to be a covert agent.
I Repeat: Nowhere in the statute does it require that Rove knew that Plame was covert.
The issue is not one about Rove's intent, he clearly intended to leak the name of a CIA employee when he told Matt Cooper that "it was Wilson's wife who works at the Agency." The issue is instead whether Plame's employment status at the CIA was "covert."
Evidently it was.
Novak's initial column identified Plame as "an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction." He has since claimed that he believed Plame was merely an analyst at the CIA, not a covert operative--the difference being that analysts are not undercover, so identifying them is not a crime. Critics contend that after decades as a Washington reporter Novak was well aware of the difference and would be unlikely to make such a mistake. Indeed, a search of the Nexis database for the terms 'CIA operative' and 'agency operative' shows Novak correctly used them to describe covert CIA employees every single time they appear in his articles. Including the Plame article.
Here is the language of the Intelligence Identities Protection Statute:
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
As you can see, the language of the statute says, "intentionally discloses any information identifying." Nowhere in the statute does it require that Rove KNOW that the person he identified was covert.
Therefore, this statute is part specific intent and part strict liability.
It does require the specific intent of "intentional disclosure," and "knowledge that such disclosure identifies the covert agent," however, it does not specifically require that Rove know that the person he identifies is covert. The "knowledge" language in the statute is referring to knowledge of the disclosure of the identity of the agent, NOT knowledge of the status of the person whose identity was disclosed. And of course status meaning whether the person is a covert agent.
If the legislators that passed this law intended that the person know that the person he was revealing was a covert agent, then the statute would look like this, with the words in CAPITAL LETTERS being the different language which would satisfy the type of intent the right wing is arguing the statute says.
Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE COVERT STATUS OF THE AGENT intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent, to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and KNOWING that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent’s intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Therefore, if Plame was not a covert agent, then Rove would not be guilty under the statute. Unfortunately for Rove, whether he knew that Plame was covert or not, it was to his misfortune that she was a covert agent. Rove and his right wing friends can argue all day long that Rove did not know that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA operative. He is still guilty under the statute.
Take a statute for statutory rape for example. This is a classic Strict Liability statute that all law students study when they take criminal law.
"A person is guilty for statutory rape where he intends to have sex with a child under the age of 18."
This statute merely requires that the accused INTEND to have sex. It wouldn't matter whether the accused KNEW the victim was under 18. He can argue all day long that he did not know the victim was under 18. In every criminal court in the United States, this man would be guilty of statutory rape if the person he had sex with was under 18.
Just as the statutory rape statute does not require that the accused know that the victim was under 18, the Identities Protection statute does not require that Rove know that Plame was a covert agent.

And let's remember what Bob Somerby was discussing today at The Daily Howler re: the lovefest on John Roberts, Jr.:

Times sure-enough have changed since then, ain't they? Back in 1999, no one at the Washington Post said it was "admirable" that Gore had worked some long, hard summers on a farm in Tennessee. And no one stood up and spoke back to Kelly, although everyone--surely including Dionne--knew that his piece was pure bullshit. How did they know this? We ourselves conducted a three-day exchange with Kelly that April, in the pages of the Hotline. And the Post was good enough to publish a letter in which we quoted Kelly's previous work about Gore--work in which he explicitly described the chores which somehow became a "delusion" when the press corps got mad at Bill Clinton. Everyone--everyone--knew Kelly was lying. But no one stood up and explained what was happening as Gore was trashed for being "delusional" in the bald-faced start to the twenty-month war which eventually put George Bush in the White House. Let’s say it again: A different tone obtained in March 1999, in the wake of the Clinton impeachment. The press corps had its shorts in a knot because Wild Bill had got those ten blow jobs. And they quickly took it out on Clinton's VP--through lying, like that of Michael Kelly. The war began with Gore's farm chores--and extended right through the election.
So that's why you’re reading about the fact that John Roberts was a steel-drivin' man. In fact, everything you now lament resulted from that War Against Gore--the war that began with Kelly's blatant dissembling about Gore’s work on the farm. Why did Bush get the chance to go into Iraq? Because of the press corps' War Against Gore. Why was Bush there to nominate Roberts? Because of the press corps' War Against Gore. And why are we reading about Karl Rove? Because folks like Dionne didn't say squat when Kelly played the nation for fools, right on their own op-ed pages! Today, we're reading about King Karl because of that twenty-month War Against Gore. Rove, the Boy Genius, couldn’t have won without the lies of Michael Kelly.

Bob Somerby is indpendent media. So is BuzzFlash and we'll note their contribution from Ray McGovern's "Why 'White House v. Wilson/Plame' Matters:"

The key issue in the affair has little directly to do with former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson; or his wife, Valerie Plame; or Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; or even President George W. Bush's alter ego, Karl Rove. White House v. Wilson/Plame is about Iraq, where our sons and daughters -- and many others -- are daily meeting violent death in an unwinnable war.
And it's about manipulation.
It's about how our elected representatives were deceived into voting for an unprovoked war and what happened when one man stood up and called the administration's bluff. And it's about the perfect storm now gathering, as:
~ more lies are exposed (whether in journalists' e-mails or in the minutes of high-level meetings at 10 Downing Street),
~ the guerrilla war escalates in Iraq, and
~ more and more Americans find themselves agreeing with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., that administration leaders seem to be "making it up as they go along."
It wasn't envisaged this way by the naive "neoconservative" ideologues that got us into the quagmire in Iraq. Actually they still seem to believe that all will be well if the Iraqi people can only get it into their heads that we are liberators, not occupiers.
So much smoke is being blown over White House v. Wilson/Plame that it is becoming almost impossible to see the forest for the trees. Bewildered houseguests from outside the Beltway throw up their hands: "It's all just politics...and character assassination." And that may well be precisely the impression the media wish to leave with us. Otherwise, left to our own devices, we might conclude they served us poorly with the indiscriminate, hyper-patriotic cheerleading that helped slide us into the worst foreign policy debacle in our nation's history.

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