This article by New York Daily News DC Bureau Chief Thomas DeFrank reveals some startling news about President Bush’s reaction to Karl Rove’s ‘clumsiness’ in trying to discredit Joe Wilson.
Here is an excerpt from this interesting piece:
“Karl is fighting for his life,” the official added, “but anything he did was done to help George W. Bush. The President knows that and appreciates that.”
Other sources confirmed, however, that Bush was initially furious with Rove in 2003 when his deputy chief of staff conceded he had talked to the press about the Plame leak.
Bush has always known that Rove often talks with reporters anonymously and he generally approved of such contacts, one source said.
But the President felt Rove and other members of the White House damage-control team did a clumsy job in their campaign to discredit Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, the ex-diplomat who criticized Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussen tried to buy weapons-grade uranium in Niger.
A second well-placed source said some recently published reports implying Rove had deceived Bush about his involvement in the Wilson counterattack were incorrect and were leaked by White House aides trying to protect the President.
“Bush did not feel misled so much by Karl and others as believing that they handled it in a ham-handed and bush-league way,” the source said.
None of these sources offered additional specifics of what Bush and Rove discussed in conversations beginning shortly after the Justice Department informed the White House in September 2003 that a criminal investigation had been launched into the leak of CIA agent Plame’s identity to columnist Robert Novak.
What seems clear is that Bush was disturbed by his staff’s behavior and did nothing at that point. He told the nation he would fire any staff involved — and then did nothing other than privately scold Karl Rove.
The other fascinating revelation is that the act of revealing Plame’s identity does not seem to be part of Bush’s irritation. It was getting caught, the “ham-handedness” of the effort. Bush seems not to have been angered by the revelation of Plame’s covert CIA role.
We were at war. Bush’s dad was the former Director of the CIA. And Bush only cared that his black-bag guys screwed up and got caught.
This ought to take another ten points of Bush’s approval ratings.
— Steve Clemons