Over the last few days, I’ve heard more than one reporter at NPR slip up and refer to Lewis Libby (is it just me, or have people stopped calling him “Scooter” since the indictment?) as Libby Lewis. (On a side note, that name always makes me think of Libby Lawrence.) Well, I think they can be excused given that they work with a reporter by that name! Add in the fact that she’s reporting on the Plame case, and you can see the confusion…
This morning I caught Morning Edition’s listener comments segment, and I’m not the only one who noticed. They signed off as “Edition Morning.”
OK, so according to the Los Angeles Times, “legal analysts” are saying Karl Rove is off the hook in the Valerie Plame case because he didn’t actually name her, but referred to her as “[Joseph] Wilson’s wife.”
Let’s think about this for a second. If I say, “The First Lady is going to be speaking at such-and-such an event,” I’ve identified her. I didn’t actually name Laura Bush, but it’s obvious who I’m talking about. Since marriage is a one-to-one correspondence (at a given time, anyway) and a matter of public record, identifying “Joseph Wilson’s wife” or “Hillary Clinton’s husband” is as good as identifying the person by name to anyone interested enough to look it up.
It seems to me that the legal issues for Rove should be whether the outing was intentional and whether he knew she was covert—not what your definition of “identify” is.
Not that I have any illusions that Rove will suffer any significant consequences. When a highly successful political strategist says, “go ahead, name me as your source,” you know he’s confident about his defense.