“Turd Blossom,” the nickname assigned by George Bush to his dear friend Karl Rove, was not uttered much by those commenting on the White House aide’s upcoming retirement. Most reporters seemed content to wish the brainy fellow well, having got past the obligatory 30-second digression on his involvement in the exposure of a covert espionage agent (one of ours).
From the standpoint of Rove’s bodyguards, his departure has no upside. They will have to maintain a heightened level of vigilance for at least the next couple of years. As a potential witness for the prosecution of any number of important people, he has to be considered at extreme risk.
His protectors might profitably reconsider the case of Victor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian head of state who was poisoned almost to death, or the mysterious 1994 plane crash in which Ruandan leader Juvenal Habyarimana died, sparking genocidal warfare in that country. The assassins and would-be assassins in those cases were almost certainly recruited by high-ranking people, just the sort of folks who are put at risk by Rove’s continued ability to draw breath.
If I were heading Rove’s security team, I’d keep his head down, and I’d have eyes focused in every direction. If you happen to find yourself in the same departure lounge with him, you might want to book a different flight. Likewise, Alberto Gonzales.