Monday, March 08, 2004
: "Plame probe update"
This is a mildly interesting article but I guess I'll take this opportunity to reiterate my views on the whole Plame thing:
1. If it was a political dirty trick by the administration then it's despicable.
2. If a law has been broken then there MUST be some consequences and prosecution. We can't let this one slide.
3. It's entirely possible that no law was broken. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) has some pretty big loopholes in it for prosecution. For example: Robert Novak, the journalist who printed Ms. Plame's name even though he admits that the CIA asked him not to, has no legal liability under the law. He may have some moral liability, but that's my opinion and not subject to actual prosecution. Furthermore it hasn't even been publicly confirmed that Ms. Plame was an operative who was covered by the IIPA. Not all CIA employees are subject to IIPA protection. The fact that the Justice Department is pursuing the case, and that the CIA filed a complaint regarding Novak's column would seem to indicate that the CIA and Justice (at least) believe she is covered, however.
4. (and this is the big summary) I seriously doubt anybody will be succesfully prosecuted in this case. Even if the investigators determine that a law was broken it will be very difficult to prosecute. In order for any White House staffers to be prosecuted for this it has to be proven that they both had security clearance AND knowingly leaked the name for publication. I suspect that unless the Administration decides they need a fall guy to take the blame for this in order to make it go away of that nobody in the administration will successfully get prosecuted. It's just too easy to evade this charge if you want to.
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