This morning, the White House announced that Karl Rove will step down from his policy post and resume his focus on the midterm elections. An important question has not been asked: Will Rove also give up his security clearance?
To this day, Rove has maintained his security clearance in spite of evidence that he mishandled classified information regarding Valerie Wilson’s position at the CIA. Rove was named as in the indictment of Scooter Libby as “Official A.”
An Executive Order 12958, signed by President Clinton in 1995, states disclosure of an undercover agent is grounds for, at a minimum, losing access to classified information:
Section 5.1: Violation means: any knowing, willful, or negligent action that could reasonably be expected to result in an unauthorized disclosure of classified information.
Section 5.7.d: The agency head, senior agency official, or other supervisory official shall, at a minimum, promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards of this order.
In November, Newsweek wrote, “Having his security clearance yanked would not require Rove to resign as deputy chief of staff to President Bush. But it would prevent him from taking part in policymaking that relates to national-security issues, which would mean a much-reduced role in the Bush White House.”
Rove has now resigned his policy-making post and is focusing primarily on politics. Given Rove’s public intentions to make national security the focus of the 2006 elections, the White House should reveal whether Rove will be doing his political job while holding a security clearance.