July 14, 2005

Plame Game


From FoxNews: Dems Urge Denial of Security Clearances:

Senate Democrats on Thursday pushed for legislation to deny security clearances to officials who disclose the identify of an undercover agent, an action that clearly responds to the controversy surrounding top White House aide Karl Rove (search).

Sens. Harry Reid or Nevada, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Joe Biden of Delaware and Dick Durbin of Illinois were offering the amendment as an add-on to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill now being debated in the Senate.

"No federal employee who discloses, or has disclosed, classified information, including the identity of a covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, to a person not authorized to receive such information shall be permitted to hold a security clearance for access to such information," the amendment language reads.

From New York Post: Scandal Implosion by John Podhoretz (via TIA Daily):

In the [Matthew] Cooper e-mails just surrendered by Time to the prosecutor looking into the Plame case, "Cooper wrote that Rove offered him a 'big warning' not to 'get too far out on Wilson.' Rove told Cooper that Wilson's trip had not been authorized by . . . CIA Director George Tenet . . . or Vice President Dick Cheney. Rather, 'it was, [Rove] said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on WMD [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip.' "

There's no mistaking the purpose of this conversation between Cooper and Rove. It wasn't intended to discredit, defame or injure Wilson's wife. It was intended to throw cold water on the import, seriousness and supposedly high level of Wilson's findings.

While some may differ on the fairness of discrediting Joseph Wilson, it sure isn't any kind of crime. ...

This Rove-Cooper conversation discredits Wilson, not Plame. In fact, nothing we know so far was done either with the purpose of exposing or even the knowledge that these remarks would be exposing an undercover CIA operative.

And from an editorial in today's Investor's Business Daily: The Plame Game (not a permalink).

The 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which Rove is accused of violating, was written following a scandal involving Philip Agee, a rogue former CIA agent who published the names of 700 of his CIA colleagues before fleeing to the worker's paradise of Cuba.

The law was designed to protect the CIA from subversion and treason by those who wished harm upon the agency and the U.S. It was not designed to protect the identities of agents and their spouses who freely inject themselves into one side of a national political debate. If Karl Rove is a criminal, exactly what was the crime?

The act protected only those who were "serving outside the United States or (have) within the last five years." It's not clear how Mrs. Wilson would qualify as an undercover covert operative when she was a weapons of mass destruction analyst sitting at a desk in Langley, Va., and not a spy.

Pure politics is behind the outrage of liberals such as Kerry and Clinton who suddenly feel protective of the CIA after spending decades blaming the organization and its covert operatives for all manner of mischief. Where was the outrage back in the '90s, when Democrats gave one of their own, then-Rep. Bob Torricelli, a pass when he blew the cover of a real CIA operative in Guatemala?

UPDATE I -- July 19: This cartoon appears in today's Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at July 14, 2005 08:06 PM