A Christmas gift for lovers of political intrigue: Was the death in a plane crash of Mitch Connell, Karl Rove's technology guru, really an accident? And why aren't all the Rove-hating newspapers writing about it?

Connell's plane went down over Akron, Ohio, last Friday, and he was killed instantly. The plane reportedly ran out of fuel — which is a suspicious way for Connell, an experienced pilot, to go.

Rove, the evil-genius political mastermind behind George W. Bush's presidential campaigns and the Republican Congressional races of this decade, relied on Connell to run the technical aspects of his campaign machine. In an interview with Alternet, New York University professor Mark Crispin Miller said lawyers in the case called Connell the "Forrest Gump" of Republican dirty tricks:

Well, the lawyers in the case refer to him as a high-IQ Forrest Gump, by which they mean that he seems to have been present at the scene of every dubious election of the last eight years. We're talking about Florida in 2000. We're talking about Ohio in 2004. We're talking about Alabama in 2002. He seems to have been involved in the theft of Don Siegelman's re-election for governor. There's some evidence that links him with the Saxby Chambliss-Max Cleland Senate race in Georgia in 2002. To be Karl Rove's IT guru seems to have meant basically setting it up so that votes could be electronically shaved to the disadvantage of the Democrats and the advantage of Republicans.

Connell was set to testify in a case of alleged vote tampering in the 2004 Ohio election. He'd been getting death threats, according to his lawyer, and asked to be taken into protective custody. He was also allegedly involved in the deletion of White House emails — a factor which played into the Rove-linked scandal over the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

And now Connell's dead.