Why Karl Rove had to call up reporters and offer the extra double-plus hush hush background bullshit that Wilson was sent on a CIA mission by his wife? (He wasn't, and he didn't claim Dick Cheney sent him either.) Alan Colmes asked a similar question of Ann Coulter Wednesday night. If, as certain fools believe, the White House had truth on their side, then why not just send out George Tenet to say he's got it all wrong? Why not show snippets from Wilson's report? If the report or documents debunking the report (if any) couldn't be declassified or shared with the taxpayers, why not, say, leak snippets to, oh, I dunno, Robert Novak? (Reading Novak is like eating at Denny's: you have to run to the bathroom before you're done.)
Clueless John wondered that very thing after smothering a plateful of distinctions about the Plame affair with RNC Nuance-B-Gone™: "...here is what I really don't get: didn't the administration have access to all of this information about Wilson's report? And if so, why didn't they use it when Wilson was dominating the news cycle with his lies?"
Exactly. Those questions sort of answer themselves once you step through the looking glass. Here are a few more: Why did Scott McClellan say that the thought of Rove outing a CIA agent was "ridiculous"? McClellan told reporters that Rove told him he wasn't involved in the leak. If Rove really did tell him that, then he was lying. Why? Was he hiding something? Why won't anyone in the administration, especially the press secretary, answer questions about Rove? (They've done it before, in spite of the "ongoing investigation.") Most of the questions aren't about the investigation anyway, and we can't find a record of McClellan claiming before this week that "those in charge of the investigation" asked him to clam up (it may exist...). Rather, in late 2003 or early 2004, he just started saying that he didn't want to comment during an "ongoing investigation"—an excuse that conveniently provides its own rationale. But we feel for Scottie. If he didn't open his mouth once in a while, he'd explode from all that built-up shit.
Speaking of: You've heard of feces-flinging. But what Rove did to Joseph Wilson via his wife, Valerie Plame, was more severe. When one group of monkeys conquers another (correct me, anthropologists, if I'm wrong), often the head male of the conquering group will mount the mate of the deposed leader and make a show of sex with her. The point is to intimidate the members of the conquered group and make it clear that they are not to cross their new leader. That's essentially why Karl Rove outed Valerie Plame (and one reason we invaded Iraq). Discredit and punish Wilson, but especially punish. It's a message to all the other monkeys in the group. Want to tell the NYT your version of how "intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy"? Don't even think about it.
UPDATE: Of course, that all depends on who did the leaking and under what circumstances. The Associated Press' John Solomon reports today that Rove emailed then-national security adviser Stephen Hadley about talking with Time's Matt Cooper. Essentially, it confirms Rove's version of events. So maybe Rove was trying to warn Cooper about a story that was really true that Rove may have thought was false, in order to discredit what he may have thought was a false story that was really true. Confusing, isn't it? More likely, whoever leaked Plame's identity to reporters did so at Rove's behest (Rampant Speculation alert). It is almost impossible to believe that reporters just happened to find out that Plame was a CIA agent under non-official cover (a very big deal). Someone told them. For a reason. And I'm betting that reason is what everyone who's not an administration shill has been saying it was. (Not that there isn't room for debate.)
All of this would fit with Fitzgerald's dogged pursuit of the investigation as well as with Rove's lawyer's claims that Rove isn't a target of it. This is where another quote from Bush's Brain comes in handy:
While the leak strategy is classic Rove, it's just as likely he did not make the initial calls to reporters, though there have been reports that he made follow-up contact with some journalists. He almost always puts a layer of operatives between himself and the actual implementation of any plan of attack. All of the investigative roads can be expected to lead back to Rove, but, if past practice is any indication, they will wash out from a deluge of deception before they get to their destination. Rove has avoided the subject, but White House spokesman Scott McClellan has denied that Rove was the leaker.....This, of course, doesn't prove anything. But it's worth noting.
...The Bush White House has been virtually leak proof—testament to fierce loyalties to the president and Karl Rove's absolute control. No one would have dared to leak information on a CIA agent without getting Karl Rove to check the "yes" box on the plan. To believe that Rove was oblivious to what happened requires complete abandonment of any knowledge of his past behavior in the arena of politics, or ignorance of his comprehensive involvement in the most minute of details in the Bush White House.
If you aren't interested enough in Rove or don't have time to read the book, read last November's Atlantic Monthly article on Rove to find out why Scott McClellan was either lying or completely ignorant of Rove when he said, "I've known Karl for a long time, and I didn't even need to go ask Karl, because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is committed to the highest standards of conduct."
UPDATE: Just One Minute has a long speculative post on "who may have leaked" that's worth reading. It covers a dizzying array of possibilities.