September 30, 2003

Some Dare Call It Treason III

Atrios reports:

Eschaton: Julian Borger Names Karl Rove: "Several of the journalists are saying privately 'yes it was Karl Rove who I talked to.'"

But whether or not Rove is one of the two principals, it is the accessories before and after the fact that we should be worried about: Condoleeza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Andrew Card, and all others who were blithely unconcerned about the presence inside the White House of those George H.W. Bush would call "insidious traitors."

Posted by DeLong at September 30, 2003 11:18 AM | TrackBack

Comments

The Acessories After the Fact are the editors of the "Washington Post," the "New York Times," etc. etc.

CUFF 'EM ! BOOK 'EM!

Posted by: David Ehrenstein on September 30, 2003 01:51 PM

but who told Karl about Wilson's wife. Does not sound like something Karl would know on his own. sSounds like omebody with close links to the CIA -- Cheney? Libby?

Posted by: andy on September 30, 2003 01:57 PM

but who told Karl about Wilson's wife. Does not sound like something Karl would know on his own. sSounds like omebody with close links to the CIA -- Cheney? Libby?

Posted by: andy on September 30, 2003 01:59 PM

It was Scooter Libby

Posted by: Politus on September 30, 2003 02:11 PM

These White House guys are insane. Apparently they believe they can get away with anything.

Posted by: Alan on September 30, 2003 02:17 PM

Merely accessories after the fact, or in fact, a cell, a fifth-column?

/only slightly joking

Posted by: jerry on September 30, 2003 02:21 PM

Alan,

It has yet to be shown that they CAN'T get away with this. The precedent has now been established in the cases of Nixon, Reagan and Clinton that a President cannot be prosecuted. As for Presidential aides, some of Nixon's were prosecuted; some of Reagan's were prosecuted and pardoned; few (if any?) of Clinton's were even prosecuted. The pattern and progession are clear. Who can say, today, exactly how grave an offense any White House personnel would have to commit, to be prosecuted? I can't imagine it. This thing doesn't even come close.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on September 30, 2003 03:01 PM

Isn't Novak and the publication just as culpable as the leaker? Are journalist allowed to publish obviously classified information just because they happen to discover it?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 03:35 PM

Isn't Novak and the publication just as culpable as the leaker? Are journalist allowed to publish obviously classified information just because they happen to discover it?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 03:37 PM

Isn't Novak and the publication just as culpable as the leaker? Are journalist allowed to publish obviously classified information just because they happen to discover it?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 03:42 PM

Not that it matters in the least, but Rove doesn't need Cheney or Libby to provide him with Plame's work history. Remember the part of the spin campaign which goes "everybody knew she was a CIA operative, so ratting her out wasn't illegal"? If Rove took an interest in Plame's hubby and started asking around, the information would soon arrive on his desk that Plame is a CIA operative. This is the freakin' White House we're talking about, after all. Did "everybody" know? Well, everybody who was anybody. But maybe not the bad guys, since they don't run in the same circles as Rove. And apparently not the Washington press corp, since they had to be told. But otherwise, just about everybody.

What's great about this is, the reporters are now in the game. They won't come forward, at least not yet, 'cause they want to stay in the game, as they know it. Rat out a source and you're out of the game, at least for a couple of turns. This makes it very likely that in a news cycle not very far off, the White House is going to be saying "let them come forward" about these "journalists who say privately ...it was Karl Rove."

Now, who's the other rat? Oh, I'll go no more a Roving....

Posted by: K Harris on September 30, 2003 03:48 PM

I haven't seen this thought thrown out there about the propriety/legality of reporters revealing sources in this case. Any responses?

In the law, there are privileges that protect various forms of communications from being introduced as evidence into legal proceedings: e.g., lawyer-client privilege and doctor-patient privilege. However, a major thread of exceptions to these privileges has to do with criminal activity. For instance, a psychiatrist who learns through normally protected communications with her patient that she is likely to commit some form of violent crime is obligated and permitted to reveal the relevant part of the communications. Why doesn't a similar exception apply in the present case?

Actually, I envision an even more restrictive exception. Though in general reporter/source communications are protected, they are not if the communication itself is a crime.

Moreover, what I take to be the main policy that grounds the reporter/source privilege does not apply here. This policy is that we do not want to chill the dissemination of information to the public. However, in this limited case, Congress has made the decision that this is precisely what we want to do. That is, we want sources to refrain from revealing the identities of CIA operatives to reporters.

In sum, I think there is a strong argument for the position that reporter/source privilege does not apply to leaks regarding the identity of CIA agents.

Posted by: Sciaraffa on September 30, 2003 03:57 PM

"...few (if any?) of Clinton's were even prosecuted."

Moron. Despite strenuous efforts and charges beyond all counting, only one was ever upheld by the courts. An Assistant Secretary of the Interior, IIRC, on a minor charge.

Unlike you, Frank, I'm an American, and believe in the presumption of innocence. The evidence is that Clinton ran a clean administration. The same can't be said for Nixon, Reagan, or GHW Bush, all of whom had dozens, if not hundreds, of *convictions*.

Posted by: Dr. Pedant on September 30, 2003 04:00 PM

Sciaraffa:
Source privilege is one matter. The point I was addressing is disemenating classified information. If for instance, hypothetically,I discovered a secret/classified government operation in which lives were at risk and I happened to be a journalist and taking into account a reasonable timeframe of critical exposure to risk as opposed to reporting after this critical window of risk has passed and I reported the existence of this operation am I in legal jeopardy? How far does journalistic immunity go.

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 04:26 PM

Sciaraffa:
Source privilege is one matter, the point I was addressing can be summed up as follows:
Hypothetically, I'm a journalist. I discover by some means a secret/classified government operation in which lives are at risk. Within the critical timeframe as opposed to somewhat latter after the danger has passed, I publish the facts about this operation. Am I in legal jeopardy?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 04:41 PM

Sciaraffa:
Source privilege is one matter, the point I was addressing can be summed up as follows:
Hypothetically, I'm a journalist. I discover by some means a secret/classified government operation in which lives are at risk. Within the critical timeframe as opposed to somewhat latter after the danger has passed, I publish the facts about this operation. Am I in legal jeopardy?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 04:46 PM

Sciaraffa:
Source privilege is one matter, the point I was addressing can be summed up as follows:
Hypothetically, I'm a journalist. I discover by some means a secret/classified government operation in which lives are at risk. Within the critical timeframe as opposed to somewhat latter after the danger has passed, I publish the facts about this operation. Am I in legal jeopardy?

Posted by: joe on September 30, 2003 04:52 PM

Dr. Pedant,

Please point out where I assumed that any prosecutions of Clinton staffers would have been *justified*. We are, to quote Henry Asquith, getting on with the new style. You are preaching to the wrong choir about the presumption of innocence. Please also note that it is no longer possible to use the word "American" without specifying "Blue" or "Red". In short, get with the times; and I say that in the nicest way, because it is certainly not a trivial task.

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on September 30, 2003 05:22 PM

"few (if any?) of Clinton's were even prosecuted"

Frank - if you want to make a statement like this, perhaps you could say what any Clinton aides might have been prosecuted FOR. The Clinton administration was even cleaner than Carter's.

Posted by: Dave Johnson on September 30, 2003 06:31 PM

Here's what the Washington Post has to say on the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the one that most likely would be used to prosecute this case if any prosecution comes about. It looks like it exempts most reporters from prosecution, unless they've shown a pattern of publishing such information. The link is: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19699-2003Sep29.html

=====QUOTE=====
The law enacted to stop Agee and others imposes maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and $50,000 in fines for the unauthorized disclosure of covert agents' identities by government employees who have access to classified information.

The statute includes three other elements necessary to obtain a conviction: that the disclosure was intentional, the accused knew the person being identified was a covert agent and the accused also knew that "the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States."

The law says no person other than the one accused of leaking the information can be prosecuted, a provision that would protect journalists who report leaked classified information identifying a covert agent. But there is one exception to that protection.

The measure says people who engage in a "pattern of activities" intended to identify covert agents and who have "reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States" can be prosecuted. Smith said that language was aimed at the publishers of the Covert Action Information Bulletin and others who made it a practice to identify undercover CIA agents.
=====QUOTE=====

Posted by: kriselda jarnsaxa on September 30, 2003 06:37 PM
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