NewsMax.com: Inside Cover Story: Ex-Prosecutor: Plame Leak Not Illegal. The former prosecutor who helped draft the law that Democrats say was violated when someone in the Bush administration leaked a CIA worker's name to columnist Robert Novak now says that no laws were broken in the case.
Writing with First Amendment lawyer Bruce Sanford in the Washington Post recently, former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Victoria Toensing explained that she helped draft the law in question, the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act.
Says Toensing, "The Novak column and the surrounding facts do not support evidence of criminal conduct." For Plame's outing to have been illegal, the one-time deputy AG says, "her status as undercover must be classified." Also, Plame "must have been assigned to duty outside the United States currently or in the past five years."
Since in neither case does Plame qualify, Toensing says: "There is a serious legal question as to whether she qualifies as 'covert.'"
The law also requires that the celebrated non-spy's outing take place by someone who knew the government had taken "affirmative measures to conceal [the agent's] relationship" to the U.S., a prospect Toensing says is unlikely.
Other signs that no laws were broken include the fact that after Plame was outted, the CIA's general counsel took no steps to prosecute Novak, as has been done to other reporters under similar circumstances.
In fact, the myth that laws were violated in the Plame case began to unravel in October 2003, in a column by New York Times scribe Nicholas Kristof, who explained that Valerie Plame had abandoned her covert role a full nine years before.
"The C.I.A. suspected that Aldrich Ames had given [Plame's] name [along with those of other spies] to the Russians before his espionage arrest in 1994. So her undercover security was undermined at that time, and she was brought back to Washington for safety reasons."
Kristof also noted that Plame had begun making the transition to CIA "management" even before she was outted, explaining that "she was moving away from 'noc' â€“ which means non-official cover ... to a new cover as a State Department official, affording her diplomatic protection without having 'C.I.A.' stamped on her forehead."
Noted the Timesman: "All in all, I think the Democrats are engaging in hyperbole when they describe the White House as having put [Plame's] life in danger and destroyed her career; her days skulking along the back alleys of cities like Beirut and Algiers were already mostly over."
So why â€“ with a special prosecutor now threatening to toss Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller in jail if they don't give up their sources in the Plame case â€“ aren't their lawyers invoking the "no laws were broken" defense?
Explains the National Review's Rich Lowry: The Miller-Cooper defense hasn't made this argument because it would be too embarrassing to admit that the Bush administration's "crime of the century" wasn't really a crime at all, especially after a year and a half of media chest-beating to the contrary.
"It was just a Washington flap played for all it was worth by the same news organizations now about to watch their employees go to prison over it," says Lowry.
"That's the truth that the media will go to any length to avoid."
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
What is a liberal to do? When you can't fabricate facts, just ignore them and re-interpret law as if you were on the Supreme Court.
Posted by Mike's America at 7/12/2005