As you’ve probably read, Karl Rove now says he did not “knowingly” reveal the secret identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to journalists in 2003. The word “knowingly” is key because if you knowingly reveal the identity of a secret operative, it’s treason. If you do it unknowingly, you’re in the clear.
Knowingly or not, Rove was fully aware that Plame’s purview at the CIA was intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Considering the importance of the search for WMD to national security, Rove had to know that outing Plame might cause serious damage to the spy agency’s efforts. Apparently, he did not care.
Unfortunately, the breach caused by revealing Plame’s identity turned out to be much bigger than the outing of a single intelligence officer:
Not only was Plame’s cover blown, so was that of her cover company, Brewster Jennings & Associates. With the public exposure of Plame, intelligence agencies all over the world started searching data bases for any references to her. Damage control was immediate, as the CIA asserted that her mission had been connected to weapons of mass destruction.
However, it was not long before stories from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal tied Brewster Jennings & Associates to energy, oil and the Saudi-owned Arabian American Oil Company, or ARAMCO. [The company was named for the late] Brewster Jennings [who was] a founder of Mobil Oil company, one of Aramco’s principal founders.
… Brewster Jennings was, in fact, a well-established CIA proprietary company, linked for many years to ARAMCO. The demise of Brewster Jennings was also guaranteed the moment Plame was outed.
Brewster Jennings was set up by the CIA to collect intelligence about ties between groups involved in smuggling nuclear material to countries such as Israel and Pakistan. The unmasking of this secret effort tipped off the smugglers and drove them deeper underground.
Loss of the Brewster Jennings’ survelliance arguably makes it more likely that terrorists are assembling a nuclear “dirty bomb” now that might explode in a world capitol one day soon.
So here’s the question, why does this man still have a job? And here’s another: Why isn’t he in jail?
Once again we find ourselves faced with a serious question about the performance of a high-ranking Republican: Did Karl Rove inadvertently breach national security or did he do it on purpose?
Note: See this newer post to read the raw notes of Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper’s 2003 conversation with Rove in which Rove told Cooper that Joe Wilson’s wife was a CIA expert on WMD.