Remarking on the controversy surrounding senior White House adviser Karl Rove, New York Times columnist and National Public Radio (NPR) commentator David Brooks echoed the false GOP talking point that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV claimed that Vice President Dick Cheney sent him to Niger.
In an effort to deflect criticism of Rove, the Republican National Committee (RNC) issued talking points claiming that Rove leaked the identity of Wilson's wife, undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame, in order to correct Wilson's false claim that Cheney's office had sent him to Niger. But the RNC supports this claim by distorting Wilson's July 2003 New York Times op-ed and his August 2003 appearance on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. In both instances, Wilson made it clear that his trip was authorized by officials at the CIA, not Cheney.
From the July 14 broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered:
ROBERT SIEGEL (host): David Brooks, is President Bush standing by his closest adviser, or is the absence of a vigorous presidential defense of Karl Rove more noteworthy, despite every other Republican offering a vigorous defense of Karl Rove?
BROOKS: Yeah, I think the president is not inclined to leap into this thing when we know so little and when the investigation's still ongoing. It would stun me if George Bush would walk away from Karl Rove. It would take a lot to pry that guy away from the other guy.
And I must say, you know, I'm not one of these people who really understands Rove-aphobia, the idea that Karl Rove is the dark genius at the center of the universe. And I must say, the frenzy that's going on around us all week; I still don't know that there's a crime or anything particularly wrong going on here. Joe Wilson was going around saying that the vice president sent him to Iraq, which turns out to be untrue. And [Time magazine reporter] Matt Cooper, from what we know of his memo, was looking into that story, and Rove said, "No, it wasn't the vice president who sent him; his wife's a CIA agent."