Tuesday, July 12, 2005

rove/plame story gains traction

it seems that several years after the fact, karl rove is finally in the hot seat for what appears to be his role in outing an undercover c.i.a. operative. today's nytimes discusses the resounding silence coming out of the white house and the republican congress. yesterday's white house press briefing is particularly comical (full text; excerpts). indications are that rove might not have actually committed a crime - the 1982 law enacted to protect covert agents' identities was designed to be very difficult to break. only one person has ever been prosecuted under the statute. it is not clear that all the conditions for guilt were met.

the whole case presents an interesting dilemma for a liberal thinker such as myself. on the one hand, i'd love to see someone in the bush administration actually held accountable for their unethical and/or illegal behavior, of which i believe there are plenty of other examples. on the other hand, i don't want to lose the protections that principled journalists are able to provide their anonymous sources. if it weren't for the fact that time magazine already gave up the goods, i would say it's worth letting rove off the hook to defend the sanctity of the secret source and keep open the door for whistle-blowing. mad props to judith miller of the ny times who is in jail at this very moment protecting a source who might have already been revealed by cooper and time. you don't get much more principled than that.

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