The San Antonio Express-News published an editorial about the Karl Rove/Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame affair yesterday that does what Bush doesn't want the media to do. It "prejudges" the investigation by Justice Department special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. How does the editorial board know that "Rove is unlikely to be criminally culpable because there is no evidence that he intentionally leaked her name"?
Beyond that, the editorial board seems peculiarly anxious about the political consequences for the administration and oblivious to the larger criminal, ethical, and national security concerns. "The political problem ... is substantial," they write. "The way the president handles this will have a huge impact on his credibility for the remainder of his second term."
All true, of course. But what about the criminal concerns? Fitzgerald, who has a reputation as a straight-shooting prosecutor, has been investigating this case for a long time now. We don't know where he's going with this, but there's clearly something there.
What about the ethical concerns? High-level administration officials sabotaging the career of a critic's wife by blowing her cover to at least half a dozen members of the press, either through malice or through willful ignorance. Is everything permissible when it comes to attacking someone perceived to be a political troublemaker?
What about the national security concerns? The CIA operations whose cover was blown were on issues of weapons of mass destruction. This act could have repercussions that endanger the lives of not just CIA operatives that worked with Plame, but of people all over the world.
The Express-News editorial board concludes by writing:
The best interest of the administration must supercede the best interest of Rove if the two diverge.
What about the best interest of the country?
UPDATE (7-21-2005): I sent a variant of this post as a letter to the editor of the San Antonio Express-News. Today, they published it.