Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What the Press said: Then & Now

The Ranger, whose recently light blog posting is in no way reflective of the amount of information he reads and retains, forwarded me some Hugh Hewitt links that detail the changing opinions of the press.

Clearly we've heard the press refer to Valerie Plame as a Covert Agent - usually in a sentence like "Cooper says Rove leaked identity of Covert Agent." Some people have wondered about whether Plame was actually in "deep cover" and thus in a position to have a leakable name.

Well, apparently, 36 "major news organizations and reporters' groups" once had the same concern. They filed an amici curiae brief in the D.C. Circuit concerning whether Miller & Cooper should have been compelled to reveal their sources.
Hugh says the following, while quote the brief itself:
The Washington Post and White House Correspondents are also signatories to the brief that notes "Plame was not given 'deep cover' required of a covert agent...She worked at a desk job at CIA headquarters, where she could be seen traveling to and from, and active at, Langley. She had been residing in Washington -- not stationed abroad-- for a number of years. As discussed below, the CIA failed to take even its usual steps to prevent publication of her name."

Hey, did you catch that - White House Correspondents! yeah, that's right, that same group that is pouding Scott McClellan this week about a Covert Agent. You know the one? Yeah, that one that was in Vanity Fair. Twice.

Hugh goes on to site pages 9-12 of the same brief:
There are sufficient facts on the public record that cast considerable doubt as to whether the CIA took the necessary 'affirmative measures' to conceal Plame's identity. Indeed, these facts establish such sloppy tradecraft that, at a minimum, the CIA was indifferent to the compromise of her identity...Did no one at Langley think that Plame's identity might be compromised if her spouse writes a nationally distributed Op-Ed piece discussing a foreign mission about a volatile political issue that focused on her subject matter expertise?...Moreover, given Novak's suggestion of CIA incompetence plus the resulting public uproar over Plame's identity being revealed , the CIA had every incentive to dissemble by claiming it was 'shocked, shocked' that leaking was going on, and thus made a routine request to the Justice Department to investigate.

So, when the press are trying to protect their own from going to jail - and maybe themselves in the future, they make fun of people being "shocked" and pooh-pooh the possibility that Plame was at all covert. But now that Rove's name comes out as a possible leak, we're back to Plame being covert and also being endangered and the whole basket of national security being compromised.

There's a large part of me that resents national security being a convenient concern for the left and the MSM. I mean, really, I would appreciate it if the MSM just came out and said something straightforward like:
"Hey, Plame wasn't covert. There was no crime, there wasn't even some kind of non-technicality, non-crime. We just want to smear Rove and send him to the dregs of unemployment and this will probably be our only chance. Thanks for listening."

I at least could support them for their honesty in that case.