New York Times and Washington Post Pawns in Leaks
Alabama Whistle-Blower Says Rove Should Be Charged
|President George Bush comforts Karl Rove on the day he was forced to resign from the White House in August, 2007.|
by Glynn Wilson
The master of spin from the Bush years, Karl Rove, is at it again, even as he testified before the House Judiciary Committee for the second time Thursday about his role in manipulating America’s judicial system from his office in the West Wing of the White House.
While the transcript of Rove’s testimony might be released in August and the committee may hold a public hearing on White House involvement in the political firing of U.S. attorneys and other executive branch intrusions into the judicial branch, including the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, Rove had already granted interviews with the New York Times and Washington Post to spin the story his way in what may constitute an act of obstruction of justice. Rove even selectively released a few e-mail messages to the papers to bolster his case, although what was reported seems to indicate he was just as involved as we have been reporting for the past two years.
Here’s how the Washington Post played the story.
Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe.
In the exclusive interviews Rove granted to the Post and the Times earlier this month, Rove described himself as a “conduit” of grievances from lawmakers and others about the performance of certain prosecutors.
“The e-mails and interview were provided on the condition that they not be released until Rove’s House testimony concluded,” according to the Post.
Rove said he did not recall several events because of his “busy job” and asserted that he had done nothing to influence criminal cases, “an allegation by Democrats that has dogged him for years,” the Post reports, even though the Post has not been the lead news organization investigating Rove.
The Post allows itself to be used by Rove and his attorney Robert Luskin, who asserts that “there was never any point where Karl was trying to get a particular prosecution advanced or retarded.”
“Yes, I was a recipient of complaints, and I passed them on to the counsel’s office to be passed onto Justice,” Rove told the papers in what appears to be a total distortion of what actually happened. This will most likely come out in the end in either the congressional probe or an ongoing criminal case.
Rove injects a canard about “weak enforcement of voter fraud laws and public corruption,” which he says “had the sound of authenticity to me. If what I’m told is accurate, it’s really troublesome.”
What the two top newspapers in the land don’t seem to realize is that this is an attempt by Rove to not only snake his way out of culpability in politicizing the Justice Department, but to actually try and make it appear as if he gives a damn about the problems he created as Bush’s lead political brain and attack dog. Every single decision made by the Bush administration was filtered through Rove to make sure it met political muster, and the administration aggressively pursued a strategy of taking over the country by the Republican Party. Rove often promised his GOP buddies that his mission was to keep the Republicans in charge of the country “for a generation.”
So why does this come as a surprise to the Post and the Times at this late date?
In the Times version of this fiction, Mr. Rove said he “played only a peripheral role in the removal of the prosecutors.”
A statement from the Judiciary Committee on Thursday suggested that Mr. Rove might not have fully described his role in the firing of U.S. attorneys in the earlier interviews with the papers.
But we learn from the Times version of the story that Mr. Rove “provided a selection of office e-mail messages about the issue.”
“It’s hardly surprising that Mr. Rove would minimize his involvement in the U.S. attorney firings or that selectively leaked documents would serve his version of events,” the statement says. “The Judiciary Committee intends to honor its agreement to maintain the confidentiality of this process until its work is complete. While not describing the contents of the documents or interviews, the committee believes that the full record will show Mr. Rove’s role in the firing of the U.S. attorneys was more substantial than his statements to the media indicate.”
But as one of the e-mails reported by the Times shows, Rove was obviously heavily involved.
“Give me a report on what U.S. attorneys slots are vacant or expected to be open soon,” he wrote to his deputy, J. Scott Jennings, in a late evening e-mail message on Nov. 25, 2006. Mr. Jennings replied with a curt, “Yes, sir.”
Nah, he wasn’t involved…
Reacting to the news, the key whistle-blower in the case against Rove for his involvement in the Siegelman prosecution, Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, said this morning that Rove breached his agreement with the committee by leaking information to the papers, just as her testimony was leaked after she testified last fall.
“He and Rep. Lamar Smith breached my agreement also with congress by leaking my testimony to Rob Riley,” she said. “I even have an apology letter from Conyer’s for their behavior.”
“Clearly Karl cannot honor any agreement even with Congress and the White House,” she said. “I think it is important that he has obstructed justice now for the second time due to his desire to leak and spin in a congressional investigation where he agreed to remain silent. They should charge him with obstruction of justice. Bless his little black heart he just could not help himself.”
The penalty is five years, she said, and he clearly had a written agreement worked out by his lawyer with the White House, Congress and the former president.
“He violated the congressional investigation by talking to the newspapers,” she said. “The statute is clear. See chapter 73 section 1505, the second paragraph. I think we have a bingo.”
© 2009, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.