OK, enough people have challenged me on my “explanation” for Karl Rove leaking Valerie Plame’s identity that I feel obligated to put it forth. Before I do, though, let me give a few disclaimers:
- I am not convinced that Rove actually did the leaking;
- I do not believe that the “outing” constituted a violation of the law;
- I have absolutely zero inside knowledge about the circumstances; this is all just wild speculation.
OK, with that out of the way, we now turn to a conversation between Karl Rove and Robert Novak.
- “So, Karl, what’s the administration’s position on what Joe Wilson’s saying?”
“Wilson? Oh, that former ambassador who went to Africa?”
“Yeah, him. He’s saying that Cheney sent him to investigate reports Saddam was looking to buy uranium. He found nothing, but his report was whitewashed.”
“His report is classified, Bob, and I can’t discuss it. But I can tell you this — he shouldn’t be talking about it publicly, either. Fortunately, nothing he’s said publicly actually comes from his report.”
“So, you’re saying he’s telling two different stories — one in the report, and one in the press?”
“I’m not saying that, Bob — just what I’ve heard him say doesn’t violate the secrecy laws that his report is under.”
“OK, I see. Then why did Cheney send him, then?”
“I’ve done a little digging on that one, Bob, and Cheney didn’t ‘send’ him. He asked the CIA for someone to go, and someone over there put him forward, with a hard push. Maybe we shoulda looked more carefully, not trusted CIA so readily, but that’s water over the bridge.”
“So, someone at CIA backed him for the job? Do you think that was a setup?”
“Dunno, Bob. Could be, could be perfectly innocent. The person who did the pushing could have had another motive, one that’s perfectly innocent, in terms of international politics.”
“You’ve identified the pusher? What can you tell me about that?”
“Turns out Wilson’s wife works over at CIA, in the department that handles WMD issues. But she uses her maiden name, so we didn’t make the connection right away. But Wilson seemed good on paper — former ambassador to a couple African nations, had worked in the embassy in Iraq during the first Gulf War.”
“So, she could have just been trying to do her husband a favor, give his career a boost?”
“More like a resurrection. He’d been an ambassador under Clinton, and worked hard for Gore. After 2000, he was pretty much out in the cold. And how the hell would we know that the guy’d throw us under the bus like this? Christ, if I was a conspiracy nut, I’d say the whole thing was a setup from the start, by him and his wife. But if anyone oughta know how tough it is to pull off a scheme like this, it’s me.”
“Karl, are you saying you — YOU — got sandbagged?”
“Well, maybe not me personally, but us — yeah, kinda. You can’t be perfect all the time, Bob.”
“So, can I go with this?”
“I don’t see why not. Most of it’s public record, if you just know where to look. So I don’t think you’re gonna get me fired a third time.”So, there it is.