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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:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:
Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.
A teenager in Singapore was convicted of obscenity for posts critical of Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, that included an image of Lee having sex with Margaret Thatcher.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”