This is my official effort to stop placing the word 'gate' after anything remotely associated with political skullduggery. In that effort, let us choose another scandal to suffix this one, since we haven't come up with something new in over 30 years. The Tea Pot Dome scandal has a nice ring to it, as opposed to the XYZ Affair which is a bit tougher to plant a 'Rove' or 'Libby' inside.
General perceptions: The Administration has taken a tenous position that it was not damaging to go after government bureacrats no matter what their position, even possible nonofficial cover agents within the CIA. If these people are critical of positions taken by the Administration, then suppressing that opposition is more important than anything else.
At the fore right now is Karl Rove and Irv Lewis Libby placing some talking points before reporters in an effort to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV. Karl Rove is now known to have handed to Matt Cooper of Time Magazine on "deep background" information that placed Wilson's wife at "the agency" (CIA) and that she worked on WMD. Also included for Cooper's review was the suggestion that Wilson's wife was responsible for his trip to Niger. Officials at the CIA denied the thrust of this contention when Robert Novak asked a spokesman if this was the case.
By the time this is done, it may very well be that Rove won't be indicted on violating Intelligence Identities Protection Act. It may be that none of the officials involved will be taken to task for the action of revealing this information, but be caught on technicalities of testimony before the grand jury.
I do see something more broad coming from this, particularly how the Bush Administration handles its critics. The outward appearance is that if you criticize, you are a political enemy combatant, and there is no civility left when dealing with such criticisms. What is worse is the defenders of this action, namely the national Republicans in Congress, the Republican National Committee, and the conservative media outlets. What purpose does it serve to allow a group of officials open season on anyone connected to critical remarks about their conduct or policies? Where do these defenders and administrative officials draw the line?
More people should question all the powerful players in the world and resist the temptation to defend malfeasance if only to win the argument for one's side.