Thursday, July 14, 2005

Everything bloggy must converge

In this post, I noted that one reason the Watergate cover-up received all the attention (as opposed to the burglary itself) was that only Nixon could direct an Oval Office cover-up. By focusing on that crime, the media and Congress could keep Nixon, and only Nixon, in their sights. I think the same thing is happening to Karl Rove in the Plame/Wilson matter.

Right now, the only question the MSM is interested in is did Rove use the words "Wilson", "wife", and "CIA" in a sentence spoken to reporters? The press corps acts as if the answer, in and of itself, is a modern day smoiking gun. They completely ignore the equally critical question-"did Rove learn about Plame from a classified source?" If Plame's employer was an open secret among reporters and pundits, then Rove did nothing wrong.

In fact, I do not think that Rove could have known about Plame from classified sources if she was really covert. Her identity, in that case, would never show up in any document sent outside CIA.

There is another interesting Watergate parallel. In his book Secret Agenda, Jim Hougan argued that the press missed a blockbuster story in Watergate: widespread domestic spying operations conducted by CIA. In his view, Nixon failed in his attempt to use CIA to stop the FBI investigation. OTOH, CIA was successful in using the Plumbers as a cover for their own (illegal) domestic activities and then managed to deflect investigators away from their operations and onto Liddy, Dean, Mitchell, and Nixon. In Plame/Wilson, the ignored question has been the role of Plame and her co-workers in feeding misleading information to the press and into the intelligence stream.

Right now Washington is obsessed over what Rove said and whom he said it to. It might also be useful to find out what Wilson said to Pincus, Judis, and Kristof about Plame and if she spoke to anyone else in the MSM.

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