Saturday, July 16, 2005


NYT's Tierney Gives Republican Spin on Rove Leak

Review by William Spier, Ph.D.

John Tierney, conservative columnist for the New York Times, voiced today the Republican spin that will be the talking point from here forward on Karl Rove’s involvement in the outing of a CIA agent. [“Where’s the Newt” Saturday, July 16, 2005, arguing that Rove is being made out to be a "newt" (witch).]

Tierney wants the public to believe that no law was violated when Valerie Plame’s name was leaked, "because of several exceptions in the 1982 law (IIPA) forbidding disclosure of a covert operatives identity, no one thinks any more that he violated it,” and, “…she apparently hadn’t been posted abroad during the five previous years.” So says Mr. Tierney. But tell this to prosecutor Fitzgerald, who obviously thinks a serious crime was committed, and the CIA, which demanded an investigation. Judge Hogan jailed Judith Miller and the appeals court backed him. Why? Because these courts' opinions reflect they agree with the prosecutor that a serious crime was committed.

The White House and Tierney want the public to believe that Rove is the one now being smeared, and that the Plame revelation was already known—that this is all political (that Wilson was making a big deal of this in 2004 to sell books like Richard Clarke). The truly disgusting element of the Tierney piece is his insistence that no harm was done. That Plame was not a secret operative for the CIA because she was not stationed abroad at the time of the Novak article and the outing of her name did not put her associates in danger. That she was a mere desk clerk.

Nowhere to be heard from Republican apologists and shills are the two words that might bring Rove down: The Espionage Act. Mark Kleiman, “The Plame Game, July 13, 2005. Kleiman says, “Rove's conduct certainly meets the far less demanding elements of the Espionage Act:

Kleiman goes on: “Under the Espionage Act, the person doing the communicating need not actually believe that revelation could be damaging; he needs only 'reason to believe.' Classification is generally reason to believe, and a security-clearance holder is responsible for knowing what information is classified.

"Nor is it necessary that the discloser intend public distribution; if Rove told Cooper -- which he did -- and Cooper didn't have a security clearance -- which he didn't -- the crime would have been complete. And to be a crime the disclosure need not be intended to damage the national security; it is only the act of communication itself that must be willful. It's also a crime to 'cause' such information to be communicated, for example by asking someone else to do so."

Rove may not be the only felon indicted. Rove was not the only one in the White House upset about the Wilson editorial. Perhaps Fitzgerald will help us learn who the conspirators were—all of them.

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