"Hardball politics isn't pretty, but it's not criminal, either."
One of the more interesting side effects of the Plame investigation is we get to watch some people make fools of themselves as they try to dismiss the whole affair.
Clearly, there are some people who do feel treason is an acceptable political practice, and the actions of these people are why we have this investigation. But Tierney and the Noise Machine are deeply mistaken if they believe the American people will be as accepting of treason as they are.
Tierney's NY Times column today can be summed up in one sentence: Compromising national security by leaking the names of covert CIA agents is not the problem, prosecuting people for such leaks is the problem.
So it's no surprise that Tierney's ingenious solution has nothing to do with preventing such leaks from occurring again or prosecuting those responsible for the Plame leak. Instead, we should just let it go.
Tierney first tries to water down the crime, dismissing it as everyday kind of stuff for reporters and political operatives which has fortunately not been subject to prosecution before:
Fortunately, the law has rarely been enforced, although its use in a few recent cases has journalists worried that it's turning into the American version of the British Official Secrets Act. If it's used against Libby and Rove, the lesson for government officials would be: stop talking to reporters.
Actually, I think the lesson might be more along the lines of "stop talking to reporters about the names of covert CIA agents".
Then he tries to dismiss the investigation as the result of an overzealous prosecutor:
The lesson for the public would be: stop appointing special prosecutors.
In other words, don't stop the crimes, stop prosecuting people guilty of them. Ironically, Tierney is trying to tap into outrage over the $40 million in tax payer money wasted by Kenneth Starr to prove that Bill Clinton received a blow job in the oval office. He wants people to think of Starr and his wild crusade when they think of Plamegate so they perceive all evidence in those terms: overzealous prosecutor, witch hunt, political agendas, and so on. But of course, not only has Bush undermined that line of attack by praising Fitzgerald, there's no way for reasonable people to even contemplate comparing prosecuting someone for lying about a blow job to investigating an act of treason, but then again maybe that's just me.
"Treason isn't pretty." Sounds like John Tierney might have started a new bumper sticker craze.
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