Democrats & Liberals Archives

Did Rove Get The Memo?

That’s the question, according to The Washington Post. Why is it important that we know whether Rove saw the INR State Department memo?

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked “(S)” for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

And why is that so important?

The paragraph identifying her as the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV was clearly marked to show that it contained classified material at the "secret" level, two sources said. The CIA classifies as "secret" the names of officers whose identities are covert, according to former senior agency officials.

Anyone reading that paragraph should have been aware that it contained secret information, though that designation was not specifically attached to Plame's name and did not describe her status as covert, the sources said. It is a federal crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a federal official to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert CIA official if the person knows the government is trying to keep it secret.

By marking the paragraph as secret, The CIA made it clear that this wasn't supposed to become public knowledge. If Rove read the memo, he should at the very least have noticed the notation.

As for any question of whether this should be taken seriously by our friends on the Red Column, maybe they should ask their friends at the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the memo made it clear that information about Wilson's wife was sensitive and should not be shared. Yesterday, sources provided greater detail on the memo to The Post.

This story has gotten more than its share of spin, more than its share of rationalization. And why? The Republicans know that they've won much on account of Karl Rove. They know he can be depended on to get us up in arms and on the defensive.

Moreover, they know what this looks like to the average American: another screwup, another aspect of greater abuses of power. Rove is both the symbol and the driving engine of the kind of politics that many on the left and in the center resent. To many, including myself, he represents the turning of the honest impulses and drives of the War on Terrorism against America's own.

For me in particular, he represents a nasty sort of politics where it doesn't matter what the truth is, so long as the message gets us to trust and idolize the candidate. He represents unaccountability to the people, leadership gone wrong behind a veil of secrecy and a wall of lies. In a time like this, such unaccountability is a poison that makes half the people sick with the anxieties of being the helpless witnesses to the failures of their country, and the other half apologists for those same failures.

It's what made it midnight in America after the Vietnam war and the Watergate Scandal. Not taxes, nor regulation, nor liberal agendas nor the extreme views of a small minority of leftists. The thought that your president and his staff put together the war the way they did not to win it, but instead to disguise their incompetence in fighting it. The thought that the war wasn't started on solid ground, and instead began on the impulse of a rash leader. The thought that your leaders would do anything in their quest to perpetuate their power, even to the point of sacrificing the stability of the nation as a Democracy to avoid their loss of control. How are people supposed to look to the bright future through the smoke of endless war and the haze of machiavellian deception from their government?

We need the Government's power and authority to intervene for the sake of our safety, and most of us believe that our government's doing a poor job of it. The sailors are playing shuffleboard on the deck of the Titanic at a time when we need them looking for icebergs.

The failure to take action with Rove, even in the face of positive evidence of his guilt in leaking information to the press is a further indication that this administration lacks the principles of the people who elected it. Your average American does not want a leaker of classified information employed at the White House, especially not one that advertises itself as the Guarantor of America's safety and security. It's time for this administration to face the music, and do what's right.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at July 22, 2005 7:00 AM