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Scooter Libby is not the only confidant of President Bush who is apparently above the law. There’s also Karl Rove. Now Rove serves as a senior presidential advisor and in this capacity he has been given a very high level national security clearance, allowing him to examine and hold classified and highly sensitive documents. Of course, this is the same Karl Rove who, as we now know thanks to the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation, used his access to classified information to out a covert CIA agent to reporters, hoping it would be published. Moreover, he did this for malicious, political reasons. The CIA agent’s husband had penned an op-ed column in the New York Times which criticized Bush over a falsehood he told in the State of the Union Address. So, from the perspective of Karl Rove, it was payback time. And isn’t that exactly why White House operatives have national security clearance? So they can take sensitive national secrets and use them for partisan political purposes.
Fitzgerald decided not to prosecute Rove for reasons we don’t know for certain, but evidently the fact that Rove made a return visit to the grand jury and recanted his prior lies had a lot to do with it. But that Rove divulged the information and did it for a purely partisan purpose – no real dispute on that score. So what is Rove’s punishment? Prosecution for mishandling classified documents? Certainly not. Afterall, he’s Karl Rove. How about loss of access to classified documents. That’s what most Washingtonians were expecting. A pretty mild sanction, but something symbolic. Along the lines of Emily Letella’s slap on the wrist with a wet noodle.
And now we learn: no. No punishment or sanction for Rove of any sort. Why? Because he’s Rove, of course. He’s immune. As the Washington Post recounts today:
In a letter sent last week to White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding, Waxman alleged that Rove’s actions amounted to a violation of presidential guidelines that say “deliberate or negligent disclosure” of classified information can disqualify a staffer from future access to such material. Also being less than forthcoming, even about unintentional breaches, can be cause for revoking a security clearance.
“Under these standards, it is hard to see how Mr. Rove would qualify for renewal of his security clearance,” Waxman wrote.
White House spokesman Tony Fratto said he could not discuss details but that Rove’s “clearance was appropriately renewed as part of the regular process that occurs every five years.”
More from Scott Horton:
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
No Comment — March 28, 2014, 12:32 pm
On CIA secrecy, torture, and war-making powers
Chances that an applicant to a U.S. police force in 1992 was found to be “overly aggressive” on psychological tests:
Engineers funded by the United States military were working on electrical brain implants that will enable the creation of remote-controlled sharks.
Malaysian police were seeking fifteen people who appeared in an online video of the Malaysia-International Nude Sports Games 2014 Extravaganza, and Spanish police fined six Swiss tourists conducting an orgy in the back of a moving van for not wearing their seatbelts.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”