Friday, July 15, 2005

Take a deep breath on Plamegate

Don't listen to the spin from the Republicans on the Plame story! Their only intention is to obfuscate and trivialize. There appears to have been a round-robin of dishing between reporters and the White House over Plame and her role in shipping her husband off to Niger, and today's spin and leaks are weaving a giant fuzzball around it. Did Novak reveal Valerie Plame's name to Rove? Did he call Rove not vice versa? Were Cooper and Rove talking welfare reform or Niger? Was Karl just helpfully waving Cooper off the misperception that Wilson was believable? Did Judy Miller spill the beans or did someone spill them to her?

On the other hand, don't buy into the liberal/Democratic line either (i.e., Rove is a criminal/traitor). We don't know if he will be charged or someone else - or anyone. We don't know to what niche in the upper echelons of government Fitzgerald has traced the Plame gossip. We don't know what statutes are involved, or if the potential crime is revealing her identity or a subsequent cover-up or perjury - or something else.

Beyond the fact that this is a serious investigation that will likely end with someone being charged or reaching a plea bargain, there just isn't enough information publicly available to make a judgment from the outside on legal culpability.

Does that mean Democrats should stand down in the face of furious Rovian spin? Well, no. But in their quiet moments they should take a step back and contemplate what we do and don't know, because there are probably more surprises ahead.