Wilson Backs Off on Rove

Joseph Wilson, speaking on NPR, has backed way back from his earlier statement virtually accusing Karl Rove of having been the source of the Valerie Plame leak. Wilson admits to “an excess of exuberance,” which is certainly one way to describe accusing someone in a public forum of an aggravated felony without having any actual evidence.

Wilson continues to insist, plausibly, that Rove must have condoned the activity afterwards even if he didn’t order it or execute it himself. But this certainly makes Tom Maguire’s hesitancy about taking Wilson at his word look justified.

Fortunately, at this point nothing in this story depends on crediting Wilson’s accuracy. He was a useful, and perhaps essential, catalyst in starting the investigation, but it now has a life of its own.

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: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

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