Aw, nuts. US District Judge John D. Bates has thrown out the goofy lawsuit filed by Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson against, according to the Associated Press, "Vice President Dick Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage."
This is the end of the Plame-o-thon Super-Saga which has played out in lawyers' offices, Federal grand jury rooms, Federal judges' chambers, print and broadcast newsrooms, at least one Federal prison, and in billions of lines of copy - on-line, on the air, and in print.
You can read the back story to all this just about everywhere, but the one quote which has stuck with me since September 2003 when this whole thing started was this, by the afore-mentioned Joe Wilson, as quoted in Slate magazine:
"It's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs."
And that's what this whole thing has been about: "whether or not we can get Karl Rove."
There was no crime when then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage gave Bob Novak Plame's name. Right from the get-go that was clear, even when we didn't know who the leaker was (although the special prosecutor apparently knew early on).
Now the civil suit which claimed that the defendants had "violated [Plame's] privacy rights and was illegal retribution for her husband's criticism of the administration" has been tossed out and so Joe Wilson's War against Rove ends, exactly where it should. In failure.
Back in October 2005 when special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced a five-count indictment against Scooter Libby, you could almost hear the keening and wailing of disappointment from the Left and their allies in the Popular Press because Rove's name was not on the document.
Hope was rekindled when it came to light that Fitzgerald (who had been touted as the most scrupulous, careful, thorough, complete, detail-oriented special prosecutor since Caiaphas) missed the point that a little-known Washington journalist - Bob Woodward - had been involved in the gossip loop about Valerie Plame as well.
In an excerpt from the book "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush" by Eric Boehlert:
"Just weeks after Fitzgerald [indicted] Libby for obstructing justice and lying to Fitzgerald's grand jury, a source of Woodward's came forward and told Fitzgerald that he'd actually told the star reporter about Plame's identity long before Libby started chatting up reporters in 2003."
In the end Fitzgerald couldn't get Rove and had to settle for Libby (who never was frog-marched nor handcuffed) which was an excitement deflator around here akin to a Major League pitcher carrying a perfect game, tied at zero-zero, into the bottom of the ninth inning only to have the batter hit a home run causing the pitcher to lose the perfect game, the no-hitter, the shut-out, and the game all on one pitch.
In filing this suit, it provided yet another round of hand-clapping glee thinking about whether Vice President Cheney would finally be forced to testify under oath in open court on what his role was in all this.
In dismissing this suit, Judge Bates wrote that the Administration attacks on Wilson in the press,
"may have been highly unsavory, but there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."
Sounds like Judge Bates, when he is not writing legal briefs, writes for Yoda, if you ask me.
So, the Plame-iacs go home empty handed: The Veep doesn't testify. Scooter doesn't go to jail. Rove doesn't get indicted.
Not a perfect ending, but close enough.