Prominent conservative commentator Linda Chavez writes that Jose Rodriguez, the CIA official who reportedly undertook the destruction of the torture tapes, “deserves a medal.” Chavez — President Bush’s once-failed Secretary of Labor candidate — writes:
In the next few months, [Rodriguez's] name will likely be dragged through the mud, and he will be vilified as a rogue official engaged in a massive cover-up. I think he deserves a medal. [...]
Rodriguez’s lawyer says that his client sought and received legal clearance to destroy the tapes. Even though he is likely to become a scapegoat, what he did was right. He protected not just his men but all of us. I, for one, thank him.
Given Bush’s past record of distributing medals to individuals who carried out the White House’s disastrous policies (see George Tenet and Paul Bremer), Rodriguez would indeed qualify. The New York Times reported recently that there was “vigorous sentiment” among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes.
In November, Fox pundit John Gibson said the White House deserved a medal for outing Valerie Plame. Conservatives have made a mockery of the “presidential medal of freedom,” turning it into a symbol for absolving the Bush administration’s illegal behavior.