American Proscenium

Karl Rove and the Plame Affair

Karl Rove’s favorite president is Richard Nixon.  What a twist of fate it would be if Rove were driven from power as Nixon was over what both men would consider trivial matters—the leaking of a CIA employee’s name to reporters by Rove in 2004 and the Watergate break-in of the Democratic headquarters at the instigation of Nixon campaign officials in 1972.  Just as it was not the Watergate break-in per se (but the subsequent cover-up) that brought Nixon down, so it may be that what Karl Rove said and did after the fact will prove his undoing.

At the center of the controversy is an obscure and very restrictive 1982 federal statute designed to protect American spies.  The legislation is known as the “Philip Agee” law and was put in place to discourage people such as Agee (a disaffected leftist who had been in the CIA) from “outing” covert CIA operatives stationed abroad.  Valerie Plame appears to have fallen under this category of protected names since she had worked undercover for the agency in her overseas posts.  The obstacle to getting a conviction against Rove for leaking her identity to reporters is that he would have had to have known that she was an undercover operative and also known that it was against the law to reveal her identity.  It is doubtful that Rove had such knowledge.  This is not (as it was with Agee) a situation where you have...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here