Clear as mud

Something happened between Matt Cooper and his source, now known to have been Karl Rove, but I’m damned if I can figure out what it was.

Adam Liptak has a blow-by-blow of the Cooper/Rove negotations and related matters that leaves me more confused than I was before. I don’t think the fault lies with Liptak; I think he’s giving a very skilled account of a a set of pieces that don’t yet form a coherent pattern.


Atrios agrees with Kevin Drum and me about the difficulty of parsing Liptak’s account, and offers a plausible interpetation: As Rove’s lawyer kept repeating “Whoever Cooper is protecting, it’s not my client,” Cooper finally decided it wasn’t worth going to jail to protect Rove after all. That interpretation has the advantage of explaining why Rove’s lawyer would have allowed him to offer a waiver for information likely to send him to prison: he didn’t mean to, but stretched the rubber band a little bit too far and it broke.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: