Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Greater Good 

Courtesy of our venerated colleague Racrecir at What Alice Found, Kevin Drum's analysis of the constantly-evolving Rove defense:
[I]f Rove's failure was merely that he didn't care enough to check on Plame's status, then he did nothing wrong. If he knew she was covert but didn't realize that the CIA prefers its covert agents to stay covert, then he did nothing wrong. If he knew that too, but outed Plame in a conversation that someone else initiated, then he did nothing wrong. And finally, even if he knew all those things, but his motivation was merely to score points against Joe Wilson, rather than to ruin Valerie Plame's career, then he did nothing wrong. These criteria essentially justify in advance virtually anything that Rove might plausibly have done.

Nearly every conservative blog now follows this line. Plame wasn't really all that covert. Rove was merely engaged in a longrunning turf battle with the CIA. Hell, somebody had to smear Joe Wilson. The guy had it coming. If that required the exposure of Plame, her front company, and potentially every source she's ever worked with, that's the way it goes. After all, we don't know for sure that anything bad came of this, do we?

The moral bankruptcy at the core of this argument is truly stunning, but this weekend it got even worse.
Senator Pat Roberts, the Republican chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced that he "intends to preside over hearings on the intelligence community's use of covert protections for CIA agents and others involved in secret activities."

Let that sink in. Does it sound like Roberts is concerned about CIA agents being exposed in the press? Of course not. Instead, Roberts is preemptively defending Rove by implying that perhaps the real problem is that the CIA overuses clandestine cover for its agents. The gall is almost beyond belief, especially coming from the party that keeps telling us they're the ones who are serious about national security . . . .

[F]or most conservatives, Plamegate has now turned into the public relations task of convincing the public that even if Rove did out Plame, outing a covert CIA agent is a perfectly acceptable thing for a White House aide to do.
SIDEBAR (courtesy of Zemblan patriot K.Z.): In circulation among knowledgeable Washingtonians is a scurrilous rumor that Karl Rove, a married man, has been having sex with a woman. As a simple matter of principle we would like to state, categorically and for the record, that we do not believe these ugly allegations for a moment.

UPDATE: See the Rove defense in action at BradBlog.

UPDATE II: The horror, the horror -- our distinguished colleague Susie Madrak, citing a Grytpype comment at Daily Kos, wonders whether the Roberts investigation mightn't serve as a pretext to grant Rove, Libby, et al blanket immunity.

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