Monday, December 03, 2007

Rove at Duke Letter: My Response

The following letter appeared in The Chronicle today. My response, posted on the comment thread, follows the letter here.

To the editor:

I'm assuming that you've received many e-mails expressing outrage, embarrassment, frustration and disappointment over the scheduled appearance of Karl Rove at Duke tonight.

Please add my name to the list.

Rove, the former chief propaganda minister (not his formal title, of course, but it should have been) for President George W. Bush, rather than being invited to speak at Duke, should instead be on trial for subverting democracy at home and for enabling war crimes abroad.

As even the casual follower of current events knows, Rove was "the architect" of Bush's whole ghastly political career. He conducted the "whisper campaign" that Ann Richards was a lesbian, which resulted in Bush's being elected governor of Texas. Rove smeared John McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary with a series of "push poll" phone calls to voters claiming that McCain had a "black child" and had been rendered mentally unstable by his years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Those lies revived Bush's flagging campaign and put him on the road to his hostile takeover of the presidency.

As a policy maker in Bush's administration as well as a political hit man, Rove helped sell the Iraq war, torture, the Swift-boating of John Kerry and the relentless fear and faux patriotism that resulted in Bush's remaining in the White House for a second term. Rove has tellingly abandoned Bush as his former boss' ship sinks (to go out and make money at universities and other places willing to pay large sums for him to deliver speeches), but he remains the sort of man willing to tell even the most obvious of untruths. His latest "big lie" is that the Democratic Congress was responsible for rushing the United States into the Iraq War.

What will Rove say tomorrow night at Duke? That he had nothing to do with illegally "outing" covert CIA agent Valerie Plame? That there never was a war in Iraq, or that, if there was, no civilians died in it? That, contrary to Democratic propaganda, Osama Bin Laden has been captured?

I'm not advocating taking away Rove's freedom of speech; however, Duke University should not have given such a professionally dishonest man a big payday to come and spread more of his transparent lies.

Rodney Allen
Graduate School '82

______________________________________

Dear Rodney Allen:

You say that as “a policy maker in Bush's administration as well as a political hit man, Rove helped sell . . .the Swift-boating of John Kerry.”

But you offer no proof that he did.

You also don’t say what you mean by “the Swift-boating” of Kerry.

Do you mean, for instance, the disclosures during the 2004 presidential campaign by men who served with Kerry in Vietnam that, despite repeatedly promising to do so, he'd failed to release to the public all his Navy records?

By Swift-boating do you mean alerting the public that contrary to what he had claimed in a Senate speech, Kerry hadn’t actually spent Christmas in Cambodia?

Do you know T. Boone Pickens has offered Kerry $1 million if he can prove even one Swift-boat charge was false? Kerry wrote Pickens accepting his offer but so far he hasn’t produced anything to disprove a Swift-boat claim.

Here’s a link to The American Spectator’s site where you can read more about Kerry’s failure so far to refute any charge.

You wonder whether Rove will say “he had nothing to do with illegally ‘outing’ covert CIA agent Valerie Plame.”

Do you know the Special Prosecutor did not accuse Rove of “outing” Valerie Plame?
Does that matter to you?

Also, why do you say Plame was a “covert” agent?

For more than five years before she was “outed” she lived in D. C. and each workday drove to CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.

CIA “covert” agents don’t commute by car to headquarters for more than five years, do they?

Sincerely,

John in Carolina

31 comments:

just a thought said...

Why would the CIA ask the department of justice to investigate the outing of Valerie Plame if she wasn't a legally protected CIA agent?

Why would Mr. Libby lie to cover up something that wasn't a crime (he was convicted, if you recall).

just a thought said...

You should check out this link, it provides some of the non-Kerry references you desire.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?bid=3&pid=245279

just a thought said...
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just a thought said...
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Anonymous said...

First the Special Prosecutor decided very early there was no crime in "outing" Plame.

Second, no charges were brought against Rove by the Special prosecutor.

Third, I find it odd that one would object to Rove coming an speaking at a university. Free Speech & the exchange of ideas is what a University is supposed to be about.

Anonymous said...

Hi just a thought,

You bet Plame was legally protected.

So are all government employees. Citiznes, too.

Now three big questions for you:

When will you show us where the CIA said Plame was a "covert" agent?

If she was "covert," why was she driving to CIA headquarters every day?

If she was "covert," why did special prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald decide within a few days of coming on the case that no crime was committed in outing her?

I'll wait for your answers.

just a thought said...

Please read The Nation article I cited, all of these questions are answered there with references. I don't recall saying that Rove shouldn't be allowed to speak, or that Duke was doing a disservice by asking him to speak. I was saying that some of the statements made in John's column were factually incorrect.

The CIA would not have asked the DOJ to investigate her "outing" if it hadn't been a crime. Why would they?

She went to CIA headquarters because she was the head of the nonproliferation division investigating Iran's nuclear weapons program. This job required her to serve overseas occasionally, making her a protected covert agent.

Just because a crime cannot be proven, doesn't mean one wasn't committed, just ask OJ Simpson. Just because Rove wasn't charged doesn't mean he didn't do something wrong. It turns out Richard Armitage let it slip, accidentally, and then Mr. Rove confirmed this confidential information to reporters, while Mr. Libby was actively spreading it as well, which he lied about and was convicted for.

Ruth said...

'just a thought' is just wrong but "Facts don't matter." Well, to people like 'just a tought' they don't.

Keep up the good work John.

locomotive Breath said...

The US Senate says Joe Wilson ain't exactly truthful.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A39834-2004Jul9.html

Plame's Input Is Cited on Niger Mission
Report Disputes Wilson's Claims on Trip, Wife's Role
By Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 10, 2004; Page A09

Former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, dispatched by the CIA in February 2002 to investigate reports that Iraq sought to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program with uranium from Africa, was specifically recommended for the mission by his wife, a CIA employee, contrary to what he has said publicly.

[snip]

The panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

[snip]

Anonymous said...

to the 10:44
The CIA hates GWB and would do anything to hurt him. He is a Yalie, but they consider him to be a redneck; the CIA has always been elitist and has no use for anyone who doesn't meet their "standards." I say this from direct knowledge as a retired Department of Defense intelligence analyst with years of experience working with CIA operatives. Plame worked under shallow "official cover" at one point in her career over seven years before the incident, but at the time of the "outing," she was an overt analyst and had CIA parking stickers on her car. So much for her being an undercover agent.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought:

You seem very knowledgable about the Plame affair. I don't understand one of the details.

You stated "It turns out Richard Armitage let it slip, accidentally,.."

How is is possible for a high ranking member of the state department to "accidently (?)" divulge the identity of a covert CIA agent and escape prosecution?

The NY Times has confirmed reports that Armitage was the initial source of the leak and that both the independent prosecutor and the US Attorney General were aware of this prior to a Grand Jury being empanelled.

Members of the State Department have considerable training on their obligation to maintain the confidentiality and secrecy of information they become aware of. Mr. Armitage was aware of Robert Novak's profession. Unless Mr Armitage was a raving lunatic (which is a distinct possibility), this was no accident.

The situation bears similarity to the one in Durham where Crystal Magnum has never been charged for the false rape charges she made to the Durham police department.

Ken
Dallas

Ralph Phelan said...

Why would Mr. Libby lie to cover up something that wasn't a crime (he was convicted, if you recall).
Ask Martha Stewart. Pretty much the same thing happened to her.

just a thought said...

Quote: Ruth said...
'just a thought' is just wrong but "Facts don't matter." Well, to people like 'just a tought' they don't.

Keep up the good work John.
Unquote

I am perfectly happy to listen to facts, but you have presented none. What you have presented is your opinion, which you have a right to, but without facts to back it up it is meaningless to this discussion.

Several facts were presented by others, including the fact that Rove wasn't charged with a crime, though this doesn't mean one was committed, only that one could not be proven.

just a thought said...

How is is possible for a high ranking member of the state department to "accidently (?)" divulge the identity of a covert CIA agent and escape prosecution?

I'm not sure of this detail, but when the DOJ started the investigation he immediately asked for a meeting with them and outlined what he had done. Patrick Fitzgerald (a Republican, by the way) believed him but continued the investigation because the statements of Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby contradicted other evidence he had received. Mr. Rove was able, following several appearances before the grand jury, to explain these descrepancies away and avoid charges. Mr. Libby was not able to explain the contridictions in his statements, and was subsequently tried and convicted by a jury of his peers. Probably he should have been sent to jail, like a normal criminal would be, but instead had his prison term commuted. The above are statments of fact, which do matter. Please do not put words in my mouth with false quotes (Ruth).

The real question is why should Mr. Libby, who was convicted in a fair trial by a jury of his peers, not face the consequences for his actions? Isn't Mr. Bush in favor of law and order? He sure wants to be terrorists to justice (or at least to torturous ends), so why should his aides not have consequences for their actions?

just a thought said...

The CIA hates GWB and would do anything to hurt him. He is a Yalie, but they consider him to be a redneck; the CIA has always been elitist and has no use for anyone who doesn't meet their "standards." I say this from direct knowledge as a retired Department of Defense intelligence analyst with years of experience working with CIA operatives. Plame worked under shallow "official cover" at one point in her career over seven years before the incident, but at the time of the "outing," she was an overt analyst and had CIA parking stickers on her car. So much for her being an undercover agent.


Wasn't Mr. Bush's father the head of the CIA? Why would they harbor a resentment against his son?

Being the head of the counterproliferation group studying Iran's nuclear weapons capability including travel overseas to confer with sources. This is a fact, it also sounds like something that should be secret so the work could continue.

In light of the National Intelligence Estimate that was just released, which stated that Iran halted its weapons program in 2003, maybe the information being garnered by Ms. Plame's group was not supportive of the administration's plans, and they decided it would be better to silence a critic of the administration (Mr. Wilson) and strike at her with the same blow.

locomotive breath said...

What ->precisely<- is Libby supposed to have done? As I understand it he had a different recollection of a conversation with Tim Russert than Russert had of that conversation. Libby says they talked about Plame/Wilson and Russert says they did not. That's the sum total of Libby's offense. The jury decided to believe Russert and not Libby. There's no objective smoking gun there.

BTW, the foreman of the jury was a journalist just like Russert. Wonder if that had just a little influence on is perceptions of witness credibility. Nah, couldn't have.

Fitz is a Nifong who got away with it.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought:

" Patrick Fitzgerald (a Republican, by the way) believed him but continued the investigation because the statements of Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby contradicted other evidence he had received."

I didn't understand your response. If Plame was covert, why wasn't Armitage charged? He admitted prior to the empanellment of the Grand Jury to Fitzgerald (and to Gonzales) that he was responsible for the leak to Novak.

Ken
Dallas

just a thought said...

I didn't understand your response. If Plame was covert, why wasn't Armitage charged?

I don't know, I guess thats a question for Mr. Fitzgerald. However, there is some prosecutorial discretion, maybe Mr. Fitzgerald believed Mr. Armitage when he stated that it was accidental and decided it didn't warrent criminal charges.

Just to clarify, following Mr. Armitage's apparently unintentional leak to Mr. Novak but prior to Mr. Novak's column releasing Ms. Plame's identity both Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby leaked this information as well. Mr. Rove ended up not being charged either.

The identity protection act (I don't recall the full name offhand) violations Mr. Fitzgerald was investigating require a certain malice (the person releasing the information much know the covert status and still decide to release the information). Probably the most difficult part of a prosecution under this statute is proving that intent.

Ralph Phelan said...

If Plame was covert, why wasn't Armitage charged?

"I don't know, I guess thats a question for Mr. Fitzgerald."

How about "because the whole ting was a politically motivated absurdity from day one, and Fitzgerald, like many prosecutors, is unwilling to ever drop a case or investigation no matter how lame." In fact I vaguely remember some articles linking him to prosecutorial misbehavior somewhere in the milli-Nifong range, but I can't be bothered to look it up right now.

I'm now probably gonna piss off our host by adding "Kinda like Ken Starr."

Anonymous said...

Just because Bush 41 was once DCI (for the uninitiated, that's Director of Central Intelligence) doesn't mean the agency can't despise his son. Bush 41 was (and is) typical of the elitist snobs who populate Langley. He fits the CIA mould very precisely. Dubya doesn't.
Working on a classified project doesn't equate to being "covert." In my career, I worked on a slew of highly classified projects, but was only in a "covert" position for a short time. A shallow cover is one assumed for convenience, not security.
I wish the amateurs would stop opining on subjects about which they are woefully ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one other point: there has never been any love lost between Richard Armitage and Bush 43. The State Department is just as full of elitist Ivy Leaguers as the CIA (and just about as fu**ed up).

Ralph Phelan said...

The State Department is just as full of elitist Ivy Leaguers as the CIA (and just about as fu**ed up).

About the only way they could get any worse is to start hiring Dukies.

just a thought said...

Just because Bush 41 was once DCI (for the uninitiated, that's Director of Central Intelligence) doesn't mean the agency can't despise his son. Bush 41 was (and is) typical of the elitist snobs who populate Langley. He fits the CIA mould very precisely. Dubya doesn't.
Working on a classified project doesn't equate to being "covert." In my career, I worked on a slew of highly classified projects, but was only in a "covert" position for a short time. A shallow cover is one assumed for convenience, not security.
I wish the amateurs would stop opining on subjects about which they are woefully ignorant.


I know the difference between classified and covert, why do you think I am "woefully ignorent"? Your personal experiences are fine, but they are not relevent here. What is relevent is whether or not Ms. Plame was covert, and Mr. Fitzgerald thought she was covert.

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/libby-fitzgerald-affidavit-20060203.pdf

The State Department is just as full of elitist Ivy Leaguers as the CIA (and just about as fu**ed up).

This is just name-calling, it does not prove or even demonstrate the conspiracy being aluded to.

Ralph Phelan said...

A prosecutor on a jihad is a pretty scary thing.

A special prosecutor has institutional incentives to go on a jihad.

Special prosecutors are a real dangerous thing, and the institution needs some rethinking to make it politically feasable for them to say "nothing to see here, move along" when that is in fact the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

JAT: Yeah, I know, opinions don't carry much weight. But, IIRC, you or someone on this thread wondered why Armitage would be involved in a political game to screw GWB. I gave you my take based on more than two decades of work at the natiional level. Don't like it? Too bad. As for Plame's status: if the CIA wanted to clarify things, they would have made a public statement. They kept very quiet, allowing Fitzpatrick to continue his witch hunt. I know from experience that covert operatives are not permitted to enter the confines of CIA Langley without taking special cover precautions. Operational meetings are conducted off-site if necessary. Conclusion: Plame was NOT covert at the time Armitage exposed her identity. Fitzpatrick got a feather in his prosecutor's cap for getting a conviction even though the conviction was for something not remotely connected with the alleged offense.

just a thought said...

As for Plame's status: if the CIA wanted to clarify things, they would have made a public statement.

Really, a public statement? It is actually a federal crime for the CIA to confirm or deny the covert status of a covert officer.

Given that it is against the law, how could they have made a public statement to clarify things? Do you really work on intelligence at the national level? Working at the national level, you should know that the CIA has this policy, and for obvious reasons. If I am the one telling you of this you need to review your protocols in the interest of our beloved country and its security.

Ralph and anonymous, are you claiming that in fact Patrick Fitzgerald committed perjury? You need some factual evidence to back such a statement up. That would be serious prosecutorial misconduct, and I think Mr. Libby would have a nice civil lawsuit against him if that were true. Mr. Libby has excellent lawyers; I hope they would not have overlooked this.

Ralph Phelan said...

Ralph and anonymous, are you claiming that in fact Patrick Fitzgerald committed perjury?

No, I'm saying he got someone on a minor technical violation related to an investigation of something that wasn't a crime.

Like Martha Stewart getting caught lying about questionable but ultimately never-proven-illegal stock transaction, or Clinton getting caught lying about testimony totally unrelated to some questionable but ultimately never-proven-illegal real estate transactions.

It doesn't matter how generally law-abiding a person you are, thee are enough laws out there that, given sufficient time and resources, a determined prosecutor can always find something.

If everyone knew from day one that Armitage was the leaker, then what the hell was the investigation about?

just a thought said...

If everyone knew from day one that Armitage was the leaker, then what the hell was the investigation about?

Both Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby leaked this information, Mr. Armitage had the distinction of being the first. Both Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby were leaking this information before Mr. Novak's column was released and it became widely known.

In Mr. Novak's column he says he had 2 sources. One was Mr. Armitage, the other was Mr. Rove. All three men were involved. Mr. Armitage was a adult and admitted what he did. Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby gave stories that were condradicted by other information the prosecutor had, so he kept the investigation going. If all three had been straight with him from the beginning, probably nothing would have happened (as is indicated by the treatment Mr. Armitage received). Mr. Libby lied to a prosecutor and the FBI and was convicted of lying.

just a thought said...

No, I'm saying he got someone on a minor technical violation related to an investigation of something that wasn't a crime.

This is nearly true. But by your definition lying to a prosecutor and the FBI is "a minor technical violation". Nifong lied, was that "a minor technical violation"? No, it wasn't.

Also, it should be "wasn't proven to be a crime". Saying it wasn't a crime is to assume the intentions of each of the persons involved (based on the statute), which cannot be done unless you are Mr. Rove or Mr. Libby to tell us this information.

Ralph Phelan said...

Also, it should be "wasn't proven to be a crime".
Which, had you read the rest of my comment, you would see was the language I used in my comparisons:

"questionable but ultimately never-proven-illegal real estate transactions."

Please try to pay attention.

just a thought said...

Sure, but it wasn't the language you used when you refered to the Ms. Plame investigation. You made the distinction in your writing that in that case there wasn't a crime (but apparently didn't mean to based on your most recent post). I did pay attention because I noticed that you were not consistent in this regard.