Goat It Is
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald — the man who has kept the blogosphere, if not quite the entire nation, on the edge of its seats for much of the past two-plus years in his ongoing work as the investigator into possible crimes attending the public outing of former undercover CIA agent Valery Plame — will not, after all, be pursuing a criminal indictment against White House svengali Karl Rove.
According to a statement released this morning by Mr. Rove’s attorney, Robert Luskin, Mr. Fitzgerald “has formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges” against Mr. Rove.
Among the many things this morning’s announcement does and does not do, perhaps the one most likely to reverberate throughout the blogosphere will be the complete deflation of the credibility of truthout.org reporter Jason Leopold.
Some four weeks ago, in a development noted here, Mr. Leopold reported unequivocably on Mr. Rove’s indictment by the Grand Jury investigating l’ Affaire du Plame, and in the intrerim repeatedly stood by his sources and his story.
He was joined by Truthout editor and publisher Marc Ash, who, as late as yesterday, contended the charges against Mr. Rove were contained in a sealed federal indictment filed at about the time Mr. Leopold first reported his story.
This morning, like the streets of Baghdad and the hopes of American soccer fans, the reputations of Mr. Ash, Mr. Leopold, and their fledgeling news organization lay in waste.
As someone who has been, and remains critical of the mainstream media’s fulfillment of its duty to inform the public throughout the inconceivably hubristic reign of the Bush administration, I must say it brings me no pleasure to see Truthout go down in flames.
Already dismissed as the inconsequential ravings of moonbat leftists by members of what used to be called the Establishment, Truthout will undoubtedly have a difficult time attracting readership and respect going forward. Mr. Leopold is likely to become the butt of journalistic humor when the mention of his name doesn’t draw a response akin to “who?”
While few tears will be shed for the Truthout gang’s demise, the question still remains: how is it the deliberate exposure of an undercover national security asset’s identity, something the White House initially responded to with earnest assurances of the immediate firing of anyone involved, has produced a lone scapegoat in the form of I. Lewis Libby, the former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney?
It may well be that no crime can be pinned on Mr. Rove, though he was certainly “involved” in the leak of Ms. Plame’s identity to the press.
Beyond that, however, it is a crime, a felony, no less, to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert operative of the nation’s intelligence community. Someone committed a crime in the disclosure of Ms. Plame’s identity to the general public — how is it that nearly three years after the fact neither the White House nor the Special Prosecutor’s office has articulated a plausible explanation for who it was?
I’m reminded of the refrain Bill Murray perfected in Meatballs, “It just doesn’t matter.”