Leaky Vessel

Jon Henke, on the Plame leak:

If a White House official 1) consciously knew that Valerie Plame was a covert agent 2) whose identity ought to have been protected, and 3) that White House official initiated a leak of her name to the press 4) in order to disclose her identity, then he ought to be removed from his position and prosecuted.

Even leaving aside the issue of prosecution – which I’ve about beaten to death at the moment – I’d pretty much agree with this, and I’d add that the White House should fire anybody who meets (1) and (2) and initiated or participated in a leak, and that (4) is only marginally relevant if people in the White House gave out her name, knowing her status. It’s actually amazing – at least if you’re not familiar with how politics works – how much heat has been expended on the issues of who can be prosecuted and what regulations require and what the president said he should or should not do, as opposed to the central question of what is bad enough conduct to justify firing someone in the first place. And to me, if somebody was just negligent with the identity of a non-covert agent and accidentally revealed that she’d been covert in the past, that’s a blunder, but it’s not something you organize a lynch mob over. Listen to former Director of the National Security Administration and former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Admiral Bobby Inman, who at one time was nominated by Bill Clinton to be Secretary of Defense:

[The leaking of Plame’s identity] is still one I would rather not see, but she was working in an analytical organization, and there’s nothing that precludes anyone from identifying analytical officers. I watch all the hand-wringing over the ruining of careers… there are a lot of operatives whose covers are blown. It doesn’t mean the end of their careers. Many move to the analytical world, which is where she already was. It meant she couldn’t deploy back off to Africa, but nothing I’ve seen indicated that was possible in the first place.

Inman also notes the pervasive leaking from the CIA directed at the Bush Administration during the 2004 election, about which the cheerleaders of the Plame investigation can muster no outrage.

3 thoughts on “Leaky Vessel”


    This article originally appears in The American Thinker
    Admiral Bobby Inman is known as one of the most brilliant men who ever worked in the intelligence game. His service as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence under William Casey as well as his…

  2. We read the comments you posted on our site and thought about them. We posted a reply indicating we think you made some interesting arguments but they were still off the mark legally and ethically. We think those posted replies would apply equally to your take on the political/ethical (i.e. non-legal) implications of a Rove leak here. In any case or scenario, whatever he claims to know or not know, Rove’s conduct i.e. discussing a CIA employee’s activity with non-government individual’s in the context which Rove and Libby did, for political and partisan purposes and to advance misinformation about the public record for the basis for war, is condemnable, unethical and justifies immediate termination. An act of conscience and integrity that this President obviously won’t take until the “dog’s won’t hunt” anymore. That’s just plain wrong and lacks integrity. And without getting too into it, it’s not really possible that Rove or Libby was “negligent” here so your argument in that vein, though well intentioned, seems to be a straw man. If a Democrat did the same thing we’d advocate terminating them too (and unlike most others, we can actually stand behind our words as we supported the impeachment charges against Bill Clinton). It’s not about politics, its about ethics and what’s right. Thanks for your posts on our site and your replies to our comments on yours. We’ll see what happens and feel free to respond.

  3. Wilson is clearly a partisan, he went into this project with an agenda. If his wife was the player she seems to have been in putting him on his path she absolutely should be exposed to the public. She has subsequently appeared in Vanity Fair, not the obits. And that’s not likely to change regardless of how one defines “covert” status. If a Right Wing corner of the CIA plotted to undermine a sitting Dem Admin by subjugating the process, and mounting lies; they too would deserve exposure. The difference is it would be on the page 1 of The Times, and Congress would be on board. “An Assault on Democracy” a possible headline

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