Everybody seems to want me to link to this Mark Kleiman piece which outlines a list of possible crimes that Rove et al. could be charged. In fact, so many people have linked it in the comments that my comments section might start getting technorati hits. Fine- linked, and duly noted.
Except, of course, I read Kleiman pretty much every day, so there was no real need to point it out, as I had alrerady seen it and not really thought much about it. While Mark’s suggestion(s) is wholly possible, I generally regard speculation about specific charges to be a tad premature at this point. All we have to date are what appear to be pro-Rove leaks and wild anti-Rove claims, so I am going to wait a little bit to see how this whole thing turns out.
Now, on to something Mark has said that I completely agree with:
Some folks who ought to know better, and others who clearly don’t know any better, have been tossing around the terms “treason” and “traitor” in connection with the White House efforts to burn Valerie Plame as a CIA officer.
Get a grip, people!
What Rove and his buddies did was despicable. It was unpatriotic. More likely than not, it was even criminal. But it wasn’t “treason,” and Karl Rove isn’t a “traitor,” either in plain English or in law.
In plain English, a traitor is someone who, for whatever reason, fights for or otherwise helps an enemy foreign power making war, or preparing to make war, on his country. Sometimes, it’s for money, as with Hansen and Ames. Sometimes it’s out of personal pique, as in the case of Benedict Arnold. Sometimes it’s ideological, as with the Rosenbergs.
Of course, as I jokingly acknowledged yesterday, the left is hardly on their own in this, and were the tables turned, the same sort of thing and probably louder would be going on from the partisans on the right. Not to mention that some on the right think Rove is worthy of a medal and the WSJ has hailed Rove as a hero.
The claims of treason and traitor are, of course, silly, but if this was James Carville under scrutiny, Sean Hannity would be livecasting his radio show from in front of the Grand Jury proceedings.