Conservative hacks claim Rove broke no laws. They insist the calls for Rove’s resignation are nothing more than the desperate acts of Democrat pit bulls in heat. In fact, Rove’s defenders are blowing nothing but smoke at America – using a diversionary tactic to focus the public on a secondary issue. Whether or not Rove broke the law, there are two reasons why he must go.
First, Rove cannot be trusted to handle sensitive national security information responsibly. As any competent official with a security clearance knows, you don’t go around talking publicly or casually about who works at the CIA. The identities of CIA personnel need to be treated with discretion, whether or not they are covert agents, not least because they offer potentially attractive targets for terrorists. Remember the terrorist shooting outside CIA headquarters in 1993? Moreover, if Rove did not know whether or not Plame was a covert agent, as he claims, that is all the more reason he should not have revealed her to Matt Cooper and possibly others. The possibility that she could be a covert agent should have deterred Rove from “going there” in the first place.
Second, Rove is doing his boss a grave disservice. Either Rove failed to tell the President the truth about his conversation with Cooper after Bush demanded full disclosure from his staff; or Rove told the President the truth and connived with Bush to keep that information from the public. Either way, Rove (at a minimum) ought to go -- before public trust in the White House drops to untenable lows.