During a recent interview with Unconfirmed Sources Publisher Kamal El-Din Karl Rove admitted to being the leaker of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. Rove spoke candidly about his role in the Palme affair and confirmed that he was acting under the direction of the President and Vice President. Rove also discussed the ramifications of the jailing of Judith Miller and capitulation of Time, Inc. to Federal investigator Fitzgerald and the chilling affect this could have on the media.
KE: Karl Thank you for coming to our studios today. A lot of people want to hear what you have to say about the Plame affair.
Rove: Thanks Kamal, it is my pleasure to join you today and I look forward to coming clean on this whole business.
KE: Coming clean?
Rove: Yeah, I think its time people hear the story about what happened right from the horses mouth. I did it. I leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to Bob Novak and others to get revenge on Plame's husband Joe Wilson.
KE: Just like that? That's quite an admission Karl.
Rove: Not really Kamal. Everybody in Washington already knows it and let's be real, I've done this before. Back when I worked for George Bush senior I got fired for leaking information to Bob Novak. The situation was different, but Bob and I cooperated and I did what needed to be done.
KE: Aren't you afraid that you will get prosecuted for leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent? That's a felony, and some might call it treason.
Rove: No. Not really. Kamal this is Washington and I work for the President. I've got nothing to worry about. Plausible deniability is the name of the game around here that will keep me out of trouble.
KE: But you just admitted to being the leaker on national TV. You can't tell me you can deny being the leaker now?
Rove: Sure I can. The media and the truth is one thing, but going before a friendly judge is another. Plausible deniability. Just remember that and you'll see, I'll come out smelling like a rose.
KE: But what about everything the President said about tracking down the leaker and bringing him to justice? Don't those words mean anything?
Rove: The President said all that stuff during the campaign, nothing said during an election year means anything.
KE: Does it bother you that people are going to jail to protect you?
Rove: The whole Judith Miller thing, that is just an added bonus. We never really set out to discredit the media and chill free speech, but now that it is happening I can't say it bothers me much.
KE: You think chilling free speech is ok?
Rove: Sure it is. If the media is muzzled and the public doesn't know what the government is up to we can get on with the running of the country without a lot of needless interference. Look, the things this administration wants to do are not popular with the people, so why would we want the people to know what is going on?
KE: But don't democracies need a good strong press to keep the government honest?
Rove: Honest? We decide what is honest. We don't the media asking a lot of useless questions and making unsupported judgments about what the administration is doing. The people of this country voted Mr. Bush in twice, so they obviously like what he is doing, so why doesn't the media just get over it. Americans trust Bush and people like me to run things for them.
KE: So, the fact that your leak to the press is going to make it less possible for others to leak is ok then? Denying other the right to speak out is just fine?
Rove: That's about right, Kamal. But you leave out an important point. My leak was sanctioned by the President and Vice President. My leak had real political purpose and was not just to expose some supposed wrong doing. I'm a senior member of the administration so my speech in more important that of some lower level person or some non-governmental whistle blower.
KE: Karl, thanks again for coming on the program.
Rove: Kamal, it was my pleasure and I hope that Americans rest a little easier knowing the truth about what happened in the Plame case. There was no treason, no skullduggery, I leaked to avenge a political attack and chill free speech that is critical of the government. It was nothing, really.