Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Latest Plame Absurdities

Read the link for Jacob Weisberg's absurd argument on the Plame case. He joins Richard Cohen and others in the growing right-wing push back against the Plame investigation. It is curious to note that only now, as indictments are apparently in the works, do these folks discover that there is something wrong with the Fitzgerald investigation of the Plame affair. And what is the reasoning they give. Weisberg argues that it is ridiculous to believe that Rove and company could have done the deed because
anyone who worked for Bush and talked to reporters about Plame namely Rove or Scooter Libby, the vice president's chief of staff knew she was undercover. And as nasty as they might be, it's not really thinkable that they would have known. You need a pretty low opinion of people in the White House to imagine they would knowingly foster the possible assassination of CIA assets in other countries for the sake of retaliation against someone who wrote an op-ed they didn't like in the New York Times.
So according to Weisberg reasoning it is unreasonable to believe that any of these people would have knowingly revealed Valerie Plame's name because of the horrible damage that it could do to US national security. But at the same time he argues that the only law that could have been broken was "a flawed piece of legislation called the Intelligence Identities Protection Act." which "As Jack Shafer has written, this 1982 law is almost impossible to break ...". Excuse me, but isn't it just a tad odd that these acts which would be so damaging to US national security are illegal only under a law which is impossible to break. That prior to 1982 there was nothing on the books to make it illegal, for anyone, to reveal the name of a covert CIA agent.

Let me offer a slightly different perspective. When Robert Novak published his July 2003 editorial revealing that Valerie Plame worked undercover for the CIA we immediately had substantial evidence that someone had committed a crime. While it might be possible to reveal the name of an undercover CIA agent without committing a crime, in general doing so involves someone acting illegally. Patrick Fitzgerald was then empowered to investigate the matter and to determine what crimes were committed and by whom. He is doing that job.

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