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Valerie Plame Scandal Reversed

July 13th, 2005 by dk

Two word for the liberal media wanting to pounce on Karl Rove for the Valerie Plame incident: “Be careful.”

We know for sure now that six people are involved in the drama:
– Robert Novak, who first revealed Valerie Plame’s identity
– Matthew Cooper, a Time reporter
– Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter
– Valerie Plame herself
– Joe Wilson, Plame’s husband, a former Ambassador, and author of an op-ed essay that claimed the Niger yellowcake scare was overblown by the White House
– Karl Rove

One of these people is now in jail for refusing to cooperate. It’s Miller, whose role has oddly faded from the speculation. What’s more, she’s also the only journalist implicated that never published anything that would implicate her.

Here’s what we know about the timeline:

– 7/6/03 – Joe Wilson’s op-ed essay claimed that his fact-finding mission to Niger not only didn’t turn up the yellowcake and the aluminum tubing for WMD, but that the Bush administration knew this and continued to describe the Niger connection as a sort of “smoking gun” implicating Saddam Hussein.

– 7/11/03 – Rove spoke to Cooper on “deep dark double-chocolate background” or some such thing about Wilson’s trip being financed by the CIA where Plame may have had an influence. The marital connection between Wilson and Plame seems to have come out of this conversation, though Rove claims her never uttered her name.

– 7/14/03 – Novak published a column suggesting that Wilson’s wife at the CIA suggested he be sent to Niger to investigate the matter.

– 7/17/03 – Cooper also names Plame in an article for Time.

Notice that Judith Miller has disappeared from the timeline, though she sits in jail for reasons that are apparently very important to Miller and her bosses at the New York Times, as well as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In basketball, this is called moving without the ball. In boxing, it’s called rope-a-dope.

The White House has clammed up, refusing to speak to the matter. The press corps, sensing a feeding frenzy, wants to talk about nothing else.

Here ends the public record and what we know for sure. Speculation begins here, helped hugely by Alexander Cockburn.

Karl Rove is still a mastermind of almost comic-book proportions. He had every reason to be mightily angry about Wilson’s op-ed essay. But who would he most like to punish for the violation of administration trust? Certainly not Plame, and probably not Wilson. Small potatoes. Judith Miller can only be characterized as friendly to this administration, especially in light of the fact that most of the WMD-puffery stories the New York Times later admitted were flawed, included her byline.

I think Rove’s goal is to bring down the New York Times, and with it the Fourth Estate as practiced by those liberal big-city newspapers. Who needs newspapers and their troublesome editorial pages, when every other mass media is willing to kowtow to the administration to keep their sources happy or risk being marginalized to only B-list guests to speak to the issue of the day? The New York Times chose to publish Wilson’s essay and they must pay.

So Rove and/or Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff Scooter Libby (also questioned by the grand jury looking into all this) arranges a short meeting with Judith Miller, who TELLS THEM about the Wilson-Plame connection, not the other way around. Or maybe she asks them to confirm the connection with a Deep-Throat-style “hang up if I’m wrong” technique that allows them to deny ever having told anyone anything.

Novak, then Cooper publish the information, but what is the source? Who has broken the law by exposing a CIA operative. Clearly it’s not Novak, who first published the information. He’s been barely bothered by the investigation. Rove’s attorneys may well believe they can use Novak’s same defense. Novak in a July 21, 2003 interview with Newsday says his sources came to him with the information about Plame. “They gave me the name, and I used it,” said Novak. So who gave the name to the White House? Miller, and the New York Times.

Yes, we should do what editorial pages across the country have insisted should be done. Lock up the wrongdoer and throw away the key. Arrest the New York Times and its editorial page editors.

Meanwhile, the White House is preparing to name its first Supreme Court nominee and maybe two. If this administration’s luck continues, Judith Miller will go on a hunger strike and keep the spotlight on the Fourth Estate long enough to divert the public’s attention from a strategic shift in the Third Branch of government.

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