Why AIPAC Indictment Is Bad News for Rove

Corn says he's on vacation but couldn't resist blogging in....

"Last week, the Justice Department issued a new indictment of Lawrence Franklin, the Pentagon official accused of passing secrets to officials of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying outfit. The indictment is bad news for the Bush White House and Karl Rove.

That's not only because the Franklin case is embarrassing for the administration, the Pentagon, and their neocon allies. (Franklin worked with Douglas Feith, who until recently was a senior Pentagon official close to the neocons.) The Franklin indictment is a sign that Rove and any other White House aide involved in the Plame/CIA leak might be vulnerable to prosecution under the Espionage Act.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald--who is not involved in the Franklin prosecution--has not had to state publicly what sort of case he is trying to build in the Plame/CIA leak matter. The most obvious one would be based on the charge that the leaker violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. But that law was narrowly drawn, and to win a conviction Fitzgerald would have to prove that Rove or any other leaker knew that Valerie Wilson was working under cover at the CIA. There are, however, other laws under which Fitzgerald might charge the CIA/Plame leakers. The Franklin indictment points the way. (And criminal law aside, by sharing classified information with at least two reporters--Valerie Wilson's employment at the CIA was classified--Rove committed an offense that violated various rules and would get most government workers seriously punished or dismissed.

Rove, like Franklin, had to sign SF-312. As Rep. Henry Waxman (news, bio, voting record) noted in a short report he released on the Rove leak, this nondisclosure agreement states, "I will never divulge classified information to anyone" unauthorized to receive such information. Rove broke that vow. And Executive Order 12958--which Bush updated on March 25, 2003-- says that "officers and employees of the United States Government...shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently...disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified." The sanctions include "reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions." So Rove ought to be slapped with one of those punishments.

But worse for Rove--from a legal perspective--is section 793. Rove did communicate classified information which could be used "to the injury of the United States" to a person "not entitled to receive it." The information was the identity of an undercover intelligence official working on anti-WMD operations. Such information could be used to thwart or undermine past or present CIA operations and assets connected to Valerie Wilson. The persons "not entitled" to received this info were Robert Novak and Matt Cooper (and perhaps there were more)."

Yeah.....like maybe YOU?

First, Corn and the rest of the "Get Rove" crowd keep harping on the premise that confidential information was leaked. The only problem is that Fitzgerald hasn't made the determination that ANYTHING confidential has been leaked yet, or if he is even looking at the original complaint anymore and move on to something LARGER (which my chatters have told me he is).

Mr. Corn, of course "not being a lawyer", which is "Journalese" for "I'm just a wishng and a hoping", isn't too informed on SF 312 purpose or use either. It's pretty much a standard form. Hell, I signed one, the cleaning lady who I hired to clean our office in the Army signed one. Yet it's just a standard form - fill in blanks. Yes, it's a "serious" form. So is the form you use to make a Social Security Benefit claim (have you ever read the fine print?). Yet using it to play "gotcha" with Rove is a major stretch. Good luck pressing it as such.

Just acknowledging someone works at the CIA by a "Yeah, I heard that too", doesn't even come close to violating anything. If that were the case half of the Washington Press Corp would be in the slammer.

Fact is that most of what we know about Ms. Plame is that at the time and for some time before is that she was NOT in a covert/protected status. That has been pretty much established. Otherwise the CIA would have used the 1982 statute in their request for an investigation - which they didn't. "No body, no crime".

Secondingly, to intent - no one has shown anything other than to regurgitate Joe Wilson's ramblings that there was a "scheme" to out his wife to get back at him. Hell, no one had to wait long before we found out he was full of crap.

All along I have been telling you that the "chatter" I hear is coming from the angle of what "Reporters knew, and when they knew it.".

Corn, much more than Rove, has something to worry about, if ANYONE has something to worry about. As I detailed here, you really have to be sipping the Kool-Aide to believe that Corn knew as many early details as he did when he wrote his story in 2003 without some INSIDE knowledge.

If Fitzgerald has shown the "bone" for anyone yet, it seems to be reporters whom he has a track record of butting heads with. Not good for reporters and media types at all.

Maybe Corn should slip back on vacation. If I were him, I'd shut up and lay low.

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