THE PLAME GAME

Looks like the hysterical Democratic rush to judgment regarding Karl Rove is running off the tracks.
The question of who said what to whom about CIA analyst Valerie Plame is turning out to be much ado about less than nothing.
And in Plame’s husband, retired ambassador — and Clinton national-security official — Joseph Wilson, the Bush-bashers have hitched their cart to a very lame horse.
It now turns out, according to multiple published reports, that columnist Robert Novak did not learn about Plame’s CIA connection from Rove.
If anything, it was the other way around: Novak called the White House and asked Rove if he’d heard anything about Plame working for the CIA. Rove then responded that he’d “heard the same thing” — from another journalist.
And newly disclosed e-mails show that Time magazine’s Matt Cooper approached Rove about Plame, not the other way around.
But that hasn’t stopped Dems from charging that the White House was “shopping” Plame’s identity in hopes of undercutting Bush-basher Wilson.
In fact, the whole notion of the White House reaching out to reporters in an effort to discredit Wilson by going after his wife has vaporized.
To wit:
* All known discussions of Valerie Plame were initiated by journalists — who got precious little information from Karl Rove.
* That’s exactly what Karl Rove seems to have told the grand jury investigating the case.
* Wilson Thursday night told CNN his wife “was not a clandestine officer on the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.” He quickly reversed himself, but the damage had been done.
* It is now clear that the 1982 law that makes it a crime to knowingly expose covert U.S. intelligence agents doesn’t apply to Plame, because of specific statutory time limits.
In any event, a re-reading of the original Novak column and subsequent writings confirms that Novak didn’t identify her as a covert operative, either. (He says had he thought she was covert, he’d never have used the information.)
The first writer to refer to her as working covertly (notes Clifford May on National Review Online) was David Corn, Washington correspondent of the far-left magazine The Nation, in an article three days after Novak’s column appeared.
Which raises the question of how Corn, who went into a great amount of detail about her specific job, got the information — because you can rest assured it didn’t come from Karl Rove.
In fact, as May — a former New York Times foreign correspondent — points out, all the evidence suggests strongly that Corn’s secret source was . . . Joe Wilson.
The same Wilson who has been yelling for two years about wanting to see Karl Rove “frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs” and has called his wife’s outing “the stuff of Kim Philby and Aldrich Ames.”
No, there was no crime here.
And if there was, the perpetrators now look to be the crowd that’s been after the scalps of Karl Rove and Bob Novak — not Rove or Novak themselves.
Will the Democrats who’ve been foaming at the mouth about all this now pull back before they embarrass themselves any further?
Don’t hold your breath. They’re still pressing for a full-fledged congressional investigation.
Actually, that might not be a bad idea, save for the money and time that would be wasted.
Because it’s looking more and more like the hate-Bush crowd will be eating a large portion of crow on this one.

Hat Tip: NewYorkPost.com

Does anybody out there think that this will stop this battle in the liberal’s War on Truth?

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