NEW YORK-Since Karl Rove surfaced last week as the White House official who probably unmasked a covert CIA agent, new developments appear to confirm that the deputy chief of staff and chief Bush political strategist has committed treason:
Newsweek has published, and Time has authenticated, a Time reporter's notes about his crucial conversation with Rove. "Spoke to Rove on double super secret background for about two [minutes] before he went on vacation," Matt Coopers' notes read. Rove told Cooper that "[former ambassador and Iraq war critic] Joe Wilson's wife ... apparently works at the [Central Intelligence] Agency on WMD issues."
In the past, Bush Administration officials have repeatedly denied that Rove was involved and promised to fire whomever outted Plame. Now, rather than proclaim his innocence, Bush and his PR flacks are stonewalling. "This is a question relating to an ongoing investigation," his press secretary repeats to an increasing torrent of journalists' pointed questions.
Denizens of official Washington invariably issue a powerful, categorical denial-sometimes accompanied by the threat of libel litigation-whenever an allegation is untrue. Rove's silence on Treasongate can't convict him in a court of law. That comes later. Still, it speaks volumes.
Imagine, for a few paragraphs, that you are the U.S. director of Central Intelligence. Rove's seditious behavior requires you to wonder about the possible extent of his inside job against U.S. national security. Did Rove act alone? Probably not. His Plame operation, no doubt conceived in league with Dick Cheney and other high-ranking scoundrels, may merely represent the tip of a huge iceberg of duplicity. How else did "Bush's brain" subvert our intelligence community? Are Rove's intimates, who include Bush himself, running interference for him out of personal loyalty, or are they trying to cover up their own treasonous acts? Someone at Langley provided highly classified personnel information to Rove, a dirty tricks specialist and pollster. Who?
In 1985, CIA traitor Aldrich Ames sold the KGB the names of every U.S. spy in the Soviet Union in return for $2 million. Arrests and executions soon wiped out America's human assets in the Soviet Union. As they were caught unprepared by one shocker after another-glasnost, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the implosion of the USSR-intelligence professionals suspected a well-placed mole as the culprit. But Ames wasn't caught for another nine years.
Karl Rove, on the other hand, has already been found out as a likely traitor to the United States. Now we must work backwards. Does his exposure help to explain some of the administration's most baffling foreign policy blunders?
No matter how remote, we must now consider the possibility that Karl Rove may in the employ of, and/or receiving money from, a terrorist organization such as Al Qaeda. Alternatively, could he be in the employ of a hostile foreign government? If he betrayed a CIA agent, Rove is a traitor and therefore capable of anything. Only an exhaustive investigation of his and his associates' anti-American activities, up to and including those committed by George W. Bush, can resolve these questions.
Internal sabotage offers a tempting explanation for the fact that so much has gone wrong for the United States since 2001. After 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan-which had financed the Taliban and trained the hijackers at its camps-but Bush shocked analysts by attacking Afghanistan and Iraq instead. Was Bush's refusal to search for bin Laden in his nation of residence the result of spectacular incompetence-or a continuing alliance with the same Islamists his father's presidency had armed and funded? Are we losing the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq because of Rumsfeld's stubborn insistence on understaffing the military? Or are our leaders intentionally dragging out combat to accomplish their masters' aims: increasing the popularity of radical Islam and the recruitment of terrorists? Even Bush's domestic policies, from tax cuts paid to the rich people least likely to stimulate the economy to his attack on Social Security, seem designed to undermine U.S. stability and prosperity. Was Bush crossing his fingers when he swore to preserve and defend the constitution?
Maybe. Maybe not. The point is: we don't know. But we must find out.
National security is bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans may be divided over various ideological conflicts, but all patriotic Americans should be able to agree on a zero-tolerance policy for treason. Rove, those who worked with him and anyone who protected him must go.