Thursday, July 14, 2005

Indymedia roundup: Focus on Rove

BuzzFlash: Let's put the legal investigation aside, because no one can read Patrick Fitzgerald's mind or know whether he has the goods and the courage to indict Rove at this time. But, let's suppose an outcome where Rove is indicted and Bush has no choice but to ask him to step aside. How could Bush function without Rove? Rove just got a promotion and is basically the President of the United State for domestic affairs.
Moore: Bush cannot function without Rove. And the GOP is equally invested in his skills. I expect that, if the pressure gets too great, the president will move Rove out of the White House so he can continue to use his brain on congressional matters like Social Security and tort reform while not having to suffer quite as much politically with Rove still sitting in the West Wing. But I don’t think Bush will make such a move, if he can avoid it. His Achilles heel is his loyalty to his friends and it always has been. Bush will stick with Rove long past the point that he ought to have cut his losses and he will endure significant political harm.
BuzzFlash: You are an expert on Rove, having covered him in Texas for years and co-authored the thorough and insightful book, "Bush's Brain." Given that Rove is now confirmed as one of at least two leakers in what we call PlameGate, how does his action -- which was an action of vengeance and a warning signal to other whistleblowers that everyone was fair game in Rove's world of counter attack -- fit in with prior dirty tricks and character assault that he launched since his young Republican college days?
Moore: He has done this kind of thing in the past. As a for instance, Rove worked with an FBI agent to launch an investigation into every Democratic officeholder in the state of Texas. None of them did anything wrong but they were all harmed by the news coverage of the probe. During the course of the investigations, reporters were constantly getting calls from Rove telling them about subpoenas that were being issued well before they had even been sent out by the FBI. There is a pattern of scurrilous behavior behind all of his political moves where he uses surrogates, cutouts, and other types of third party operatives to implement his plans and he keeps several layers of plausible deniability between himself and what he is doing. The ugly whisper campaign in South Carolina against John McCain, which questioned his mental health and suggested that he had a mixed race child out of wedlock, was classic Rove. He had done the same thing against Ann Richards, starting rumors about her sexual orientation based upon appointments she was making to state boards and commissions.

It's Thursday, Indymedia round up. And the above is from BuzzFlash, "BuzzFlash Talks with Our Favorite Specialist on Karl Rove, Texas Journalist James Moore on 'What's Next with Rove, America's Benedict Arnold of the New Millennium." Cedric e-mailed this earlier today to highlight it and asked if it could be a lead item in one of the indymedia round up post? Absolutely. BuzzFlash is independent. It's not a part of Time Warner AOL CNN ESPN Disney ABC et al. And you can support BuzzFlash by purchasing a premium (or just donating money). (This is true of all independent media and supporting any that you can is encouraged. I stress BuzzFlash because it's one of the last sites left that I started out on. There's Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler, Bartcop and BuzzFlash. Others, like Media Whores Online, have ceased to be -- and are missed.)

On the same topic, Cedric e-mails to note Cara DeGette's "Mouthpiece at work" (Colorado Springs Independent):

Q: Does the White House have a credibility problem? A: We cannot comment on that until the investigation is complete.
Here now, is an excerpt from the official transcript of the July 11 White House press briefing between Scott McClellan and a roomful of reporters who were trying to square the White House spokesman's previous statements about presidential advisor Karl Rove with the recent developments about Rove's culpability in the CIA agent name leak. (Reporters continued to hammer at McClellan on July 12. Both press briefings can be read in full online at
QUESTION: Does the President stand by his pledge to fire anyone involved in the leak of a name of a CIA operative?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, I appreciate your question ... The criminal investigation that you reference is something that continues at this point. And as I've previously stated, while that investigation is ongoing, the White House is not going to comment on it. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, we made a decision that we weren't going to comment on it while it is ongoing.

Jonah e-mails to note Chris Lehmann's "The Great D.C. Plame-Out, Or: Novak, Lord of the Journo-Flies" (The New York Observer):

After much heaving and grunting, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has lifted one corner of the rock under which White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove has wriggled lo these past two years. Mr. Rove was revealed, in a Newsweek story by Michael Isikoff, to have served as one of Time reporter Matt Cooper's sources in a piece on the outing of Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. agent. Now the press corps and the Democrats in Congress are starting to clamor for Mr. Rove's head.
But to expect any such swift comeuppance--straight out of All the President's Men--is to gravely misread how the state and the press do business in the new media age. Rather than lumbering into free-fire zones of public exposure, White House officials are now practiced hands in message discipline and Clinton-style semanticizing. That's why the press corps sniping at White House press secretary Scott McClellan on Monday--putting no fewer than 35 aggressive (and unanswered) questions to the doughy apparatchik--signified very nearly nothing. Mr. McClellan is the public point man for such questions precisely because he can offer no informed opinion. Indeed, in past exchanges on Mr. Rove's role in the Plame affair, he was reduced to lying as mind-reading-by-other-means: "I've known Karl for a long time, and I don't even need to go and ask Karl, because I know the kind of person he is."
Hounding a suit as empty as Mr. McClellan's into submission is far from a ringing vindication of the press' power. Indeed, like virtually everything else in the ghastly, backwards-spooling Plame saga, it exposes the press' sallow, retiring weakness in affairs of state. Just consider the other damning revelations in the e-mail from Mr. Cooper to his editor: the routine deference that a correspondent for one of the nation's largest-circulation weeklies shows in toeing the administration's line as it sets about its routine course of casual character assassination--even to the point of inadvertently compromising national security by exposing the identity of a C.I.A. operative.
Eliciting comment from President Bush's senior advisor "on double super secret background for about two mins [sic] before he went on vacation," Mr. Cooper sounds, in corresponding with his bureau chief, more like a teenager armed with an Encyclopedia Brown novel and a decoder ring than a reporter determined to uncover the dirt on a brewing White House scandal.

Erika e-mails to note Ward Harkavy's "Bush Speaks Up for Jailed Reporter!" (Village Voice):

Striking a blow for press freedom, George W. Bush's handlers released a statement Tuesday condemning Iran's jailing of Akbar Ganji.
Meanwhile, Judith Miller of the New York Times
rots in jail, unable to contact Ahmed Chalabi for more details on Saddam Hussein's massive WMD stockpiles.
Support for Ganji (left) just proves that there's no place the Bush regime won't
rove in the pursuit of capital—political and otherwise. And Bush himself apparently doesn't flinch when confronted with prisoners stripped of their rights. Or even if they're forced to wear underwear on their heads.
Ganji's is a worthy cause, even if cockroaches are streaming out of the right-hand side of the kitchen to creep onto his bandwagon. He's been at it for years,
pestering the mullahs about their involvement in political assassinations. But the heightened pressure on journalists these days—they're getting killed overseas, sometimes by U.S. troops—simply reflects the growing brutality toward human beings in many parts of the world. (Reporters Without Borders keeps good tabs on journos' dilemmas.)

Melanie e-mails to note Eli Sanders' "Rove Rage" (The Seattle Stranger):

The story that was burning up the blogs last week finally made it into the mainstream media: Karl Rove was involved in blowing a CIA agent's cover as an act of political vengeance. What a difference a scoop makes. As soon as Newsweek made the definitive link between Rove and CIA-leak-gate on Sunday, the mainstream media kicked into scandal overdrive, throwing in the administration's face a pattern of contradictory quotes from high officials that had been circulating on blogs for some time.
This was the media's own version of revenge for being mislead on the leak story for two years. On Tuesday, July 12, the New York Times trotted out a list of old statements by Bush and his spokesman Scott McClellan (statements that bloggers like Daily Kos had dug up and posted in the run-up to the news), and let the dissonance speak for itself: At a briefing on September 16, 2003, a reporter asked McClellan how President Bush knew that Rove wasn't involved. McClellan responded, "Well, I've made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place... If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."

e-mails to note Marc Cooper's "Bring Me the Head of Karl Rove" (LA Weekly):

Until this week Karl Rove has had both a political and legal defense strategy. The former has now definitively crashed. Only the legal details remain an open question, and they are being zealously probed by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.
We now know for sure what we have long suspected. Two years ago exactly, Rove got on the White House phones and, speaking to at least one if not many more national reporters, he broke the cover of a CIA agent in a calculated move to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson. Wilson's crime was to publicly question the manipulation of intelligence on Iraq by the same White House.
Shortly after Wilson wrote a piece in The New York Times debunking administration claims that Iraq was purchasing enriched uranium from Niger, Rove revealed to Time magazine's Matt Cooper that Wilson's wife was a CIA agent and that she was behind her husband's trip to Africa.
It seems like Clintonian déjà vu all over again. Rove's defense this week is that he didn't break a 1982 law protecting covert agents because he didn't actually use the name of Wilson's wife. Guess it all depends on what you mean by "name" -- Valerie Plame or Mrs. Wilson?
It will be up to prosecutor Fitzgerald to sort out this nuance -- a little wrinkle that may or may not have some jail time attached to it (we can certainly hope it does). But Rove's political crime is self-evident. None of us should be the least surprised that a political pro would spread political dirt about his opponents. This is what skilled consultants are hired to do. Rove, however, was acting as White House deputy chief of staff and was on the public pad. For someone in that post of authority to burn a CIA agent to stifle a war critic should outrage everybody.

Please note that the AP is currently reporting that Rove asserted the grand jury that he got the name from a journalist but couldn't remember whom. Actually, from more than one journalist. Reportedly, he named Robert Novak as one of the reporters who told him. (See John Solomon's "Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media.")

Go to David Corn's site for more on this tomorrow. We'll also be noting something that Wally sent in from Corn's site tomorrow morning. (I don't want it buried here and it goes to reporting.)

This is one of three Indymedia roundups. I'm going with the things sent in that members pull quoted. I don't have time to go to links tonight, my apologies.

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