I read more than two dozen articles on the Plame investigation today. There is a lot of smearing on the right, and a lot of speculation on the left. But one thing just sticks out. Rove is still there, still working in the White House.

I know that Rove and Bush go back a long way. I know they are close friends. I know Bush is a loyal guy who sticks by his friends. But, by any measure and any precedent, Rove has to resign. And he hasn’t. Why?

Everyone (except for the dittoheads) seems to agree that the investigation has moved beyond the Plame leak into something more serious. On the far end, we have to consider what is in the CIA after-action report. If any of our intelligence officers were assassinated as a result of this leak then we are talking about a nightmare of Watergate proportions. If we lost valuable CIA agents (sources) the charges could be quite serious as well.

But if the after-action report is this serious I would assume that Lindsay Graham and Kit Bond would know about it, and they would not go on Sunday morning talk shows to defend Rove.

Yet, the support for Rove on Capitol Hill is notably weak and tepid.

Let’s say that the fallout was less serious. It seems Rove was banking on Miller and Cooper keeping their mouths shut. The chances that Rove erroneously banked on keeping the nature of conversations with them confidential are quite high. I would be surprised if he hasn’t perjured himself. And the leap from perjury to obstruction of justice is quite small.

In fact, I cannot see how the White House can have avoided charges of obstructing justice. Their whole defense would seem to rely on the fact that Rove has kept his guilt a secret from Bush up until last week. No one has implied that Rove took the fifth amendment. Is it conceivable that he has been testifying fully and truthfully to the Grand Jury, but keeping that information from the President?

Is it possible that Bush testified truthfully about what he knew about Rove, when asked? Can you obstruct justice by lying, even when you are not under oath?

I’m just throwing ideas out here. But it seems odd that Rove has not resigned. He could claim he lied to the President and fall on his sword. But by remaining in office he implicates the President in an ongoing conspiracy to obstruct the investigation. He also makes the President look awful. Does Bush not care about the destruction of a CIA front-company and the careers of our covert operatives? Does he not care that Rove lied to him? If Rove didn’t lie to him, then why has he engaged in a cover-up on Rove’s behalf?

This all leads me to conclude that the White House is in some kind of paralytic panic mode. They are afraid to speak and afraid to act, knowing that anything they do can open up a can of worms. Yet, doing nothing is not a viable option either.

I’m guessing that the big enchilada was the March 8th, 2003 meeting where the decision to investigate Wilson was made. That meeting allegedly took place in the office of the Vice President, and was attended by Cheney, “Scooter” Libby, Newt Gingrich, Steven Hadley, and perhaps Rove.

I don’t know what Fitzgerald’s got, or how high he wants to set his own bar. But if this were containable wouldn’t Rove be gone already?

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