J. Scott Jennings, the 29-year old aide to Karl Rove, was forced to go in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify about the US Attorney Scandal. As soon as I read the title to the New York Times article,”With Rove Absent, Aide Is Grilled by Senate Panel”, I knew it was going to be a classic article. Here are the best excerpts from the article:
Given Mr. Rove’s absence, it was left to the 29-year-old aide, J. Scott Jennings, to endure the collective annoyance of the committee, something that his invocation of executive privilege upon White House orders could not shield him from.
Mr. Specter bestowed the faintest of praise on Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, saying that Mr. Gonzales’s latest, carefully parsed explanation about disagreements over the administration’s surveillance operations did not make him a perjurer. But it did show him to be “a wily witness” who was not acting as the nation’s law enforcement chief should act, Mr. Specter said.
“I will be unable at this time to answer any questions concerning White House consideration, deliberations or communications related to the U.S. attorneys matter,” Mr. Jennings said at the outset with his lawyer, Mark Paoletta, by his side.
To describe his predicament, Mr. Jennings chose an allusion that must have flown right by those senators not steeped in the works of Homer. “I hope that you can appreciate the difficulty of my situation,” he said. “It makes Odysseus’s voyage between Scylla and Charybdis seem like a pleasure cruise.”
After that, Mr. Jennings was not informative enough for Mr. Leahy. “So,” the senator said, “the new way of taking the Fifth.” When Mr. Leahy asked Mr. Jennings what role he had in picking nominees for United States attorney post, he found the witness similarly unilluminating. “Sounds like the taxpayers are paying you to stonewall,” the senator said.
Mr. Jennings did get a measure of sympathy from Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who said the wrong man was sitting in the witness chair. “Where’s Karl Rove?” Mr. Durbin asked.
In my mind, I keep picturing a scared little 15-year old gazing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, one of the meanest panels in Washington. Mining in China may be the world’s most dangerous job, but political aide to Karl Rove certainly is the most awkward.