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Bush Under Fire over Rove Leak

7.12.2005

There seem to be major ructions across the pond at the moment in the White House press corps. The case which arose from the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA counter-WMD operative, apparently in retaliation for criticism of the war from her high-profile husband, seems to have revealed evidence that Karl Rove was the leaker.
The whole issue arises from before the war, when the US cited intelligence stating the Iraq was importing, or preparing to import, Uranium from Niger. Plame's husband conducted an investiagtion into the claim and found that there was no evidence of any Iraqi attempt to purchase uranium from Niger. In retalliation for his apparent subordination, the identity of his wife, a CIA under-cover operative, was leaked to a right-wing columnist in the US, Robert Novak. The result has been a court case which can potentially undermine press freedom by forcing journalists to reveal their sources. Gary Younge in the Guardian had a good backgroud to the case here.
It is, however, the recent revelation of sources by Time Magazine, despite protest from Cooper, which appear to point to Rove as the source of the 'outing' of Valerie Plame.
Newsweek got hold of an email from Cooper to his Time editor which outline and finger Rove as the informant in the case. Their story went to press here.
From here it becomes far more inflamed with partisan politiking. The Nation columnist, David Corn, began his call for the head of Rove in his Capital Games column. He has done more extensive background work and more detailed critique on his blog.
To be fair this whole scandal seems to be a symptom of a far greater malaise that appears to be striking the Bush administration. There have been numerous tenstion points both within and outside of the administration regarding Social Security reform, the approach and plan for the war, excessive government power etc etc. The states seems to have realised that on 9/11 it wrote off its claim to balance the power of the executive on the ground of national security. Of course, the President required more power to ensure security, but he has been allowed to amass an arsenal of powers that allowed him to act as he pleases, and do so with impunity, in all spheres of government. Where little consideration was given to Congress, there is now none. Where the committes once caused a stir, they are now shot down in the press. This government has launched its own subversive action on the democratic integrity of the USA by amassing power irrespective of checks and balances.
The reaction when the institutions realise what is going on, is bound to be a backlash against the regime. This may be the first of a series of broader ructions between this quasi-authoritarian White House and a libertarian establishment.
On the topic of the Rove Case, it seems that he may not be going to do time for this. The law is written in such a strict sense that more evidence of a more damning nature is needed. This means that the only punishment the other estates can hope for is the resignation/sacking of Rove. From Bush such an action seems unlikely although its seems that Rove has publicly made a mockery of Fleischer's statement;
"that's not the way this white house does things."
Rove may go or he may not, what this case will hopefully acheive is the returing of american politics to a trajectory tolerant of dissent and press freedom, a trajectory which leads to the restoration of the checks and balances and, most unlikely of all, a trajectory which centralises things again.
RR

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