Fallout from the Wilson affair continues to rattle through the White House and the halls of Congress. That is the incident in which former Ambassador Joseph Wilsons wife, Valerie Plame, was disclosed as a long-time CIA officer.
Now the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., is calling for the resignation of Senior White House Adviser Karl Rove.
Conyers sent Rove a letter that said, in part: I write to ask you to resign from the White House staff. Recent press reports have indicated that, while you may or may not have been the source of the Robert Novak column which revealed the status and name of a covert operative, the wife of (ex) Ambassador Joseph Wilson, you were involved in a subsequent effort to push this classified information to other reporters and give it even wider currency.
This itself may be a federal crime, but regardless of that fact, your actions are morally indefensible.
In my view, it is shameful and unethical that an administration that promised to govern with honor and integrity and change the tone in Washington has now engaged in an orchestrated campaign to smear and intimidate truth-telling critics, placing them in possible physical harm and impairing the efforts and operations of the CIA.
The letter goes on to note that neither Rove nor the White House have denied his alleged involvement in furthering the leak. Conyers said repeated press inquiries about this have been sidestepped with technical jargon and narrow legalisms.
Conyers said a Newsweek article of Oct. 13 quoted a White House source who acknowledged Rove contacted various journalists, indicating it was reasonable to discuss who sent Wilson to Niger.
The congressman said the United States Code prohibits negligent distribution of national defense information. He said Rove was obliged under the code to report any leak, not to exacerbate the situation by telling others in the media.
The greater question, Conyers said, is the issue of whether officials of Roves level of influence will be permitted to intimidate whistle-blowers.
Conyers letter concludes: Over three decades ago, our nation was scarred by an administration that would stop at nothing to smear and intimidate its critics. I do not believe the nation will countenance a repeat of such activities. For your role in this campaign, I would ask that you resign immediately.
Leaks are badly bugging El Supremo. President Bush has told his top officials to stop the leaks or else. News of his edict leaked almost immediately.
Bush said he didnt want to see any stories in the media anymore that quoted unnamed administration officials.
The three-way turf war among Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of State Colin Powell has produced a plethora of leaks in recent months, and more seem highly likely.
The backstabbing and infighting over major foreign policy issues have reached a point that government veterans say they havent seen in years.
Bush himself was wondering how bad the schism has become. This isnt as bad as (George) Shultz vs. (Caspar) Weinberger, is it? He referred to the legendary rivalry between the two during the Reagan administration. One top official reportedly told Bush it is way worse.
Bush is becoming a little testy over the leakage. He told a regional broadcaster: The person whos in charge is me. Right. Just like Alexander Haig.
Historian Robert Dallek of Boston University, who has written biographies of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: Whats most revealing is the extent of frustration taking hold. Its really reminiscent of Johnson and Vietnam. Members of the Senate…and the media were giving him grief. It sounds like Bush is falling into that pattern. Hes blaming the media, much like Johnson did.
While this pack of Bush dodgersso named because nearly all of them evaded military servicesnaps and snarls in a vicious dogfight, the Likudniks in the Pentagon have dreamed up another neat move for the nation.
In the U.S. House, they are trying to move along House Resolution 163. It states: To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.
Other purposes? What other purposes? The resolution, which ironically has Rep. Conyers as one of its co-sponsors, would reinstitute the draft. Yes, hello, its the draft, again. It would cover all young men and women between 18 and 26 years old.
It is more than a little farcical and disgusting that President Bush would set the standards for performance under this act. This is a guy who went into the Texas Air National Guard to avoid service in Vietnam and then went AWOL from the Guard for a year. Some paragon!
Some parents who have learned about the Pentagons plan for your children are outraged. One mother snarled: They can kiss my butt! My son and daughter are NOT going to be sacrificed for George Bush and his fricking crazies!