With the Valerie Plame story back on the front burner, thanks to the Wilsons’ absurd lawsuit (as I’ve said before, their testimony under oath during discovery should be both vastly educational and entertaining), I’ve been doing some thinking about the underlying principles behind the whole mess.
To hear their defenders speak, the public revelation that Ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, had been a field agent for some time until her identity was exposed by the traitor Aldrich Ames, and since then had worked in the CIA headquarters for some years was a grave blow to our intelligence capabilities. According to the Wilsons and their supporters, this was the unwarranted violation of secrecy, ruining her career for purely political, vindictive motives.
I happen to believe that that is a load of codswallop, but for the sake of argument let’s say that it’s all true — that Karl Rove, in his Machiavellian mind, was sorely wroth at Wilson for daring to speak the truth and attempting to untangle the web of lies Rove had woven in his bloodthirsty quest to go to war with Iraq and lashed out by starting a chain of events that ended up with the Wilsons being featured in Vanity Fair, landing a multi-million-dollar book deal, becoming the darlings of the Left, and suffering all sorts of other calamities and other indignities.
By that principle, then, the exposing of intelligence secrets for political reasons by anyone should be anathema to the Wilsons’ supporters. If the termination of a single agent’s career engenders such wrath, then the wholesale ruination of entire programs should drive them to sheer outrage.
Such programs, say, as the transport of certain high-value captive terrorists. Imagine how upset if someone were to announce the details of such programs, including the times and dates of specific flights, the CIA front companies used to conceal the moves, and even identify the aircraft involved by registry numbers.
Or, perhaps, these people were to discover that intelligence agencies, attempting to “connect the dots” and prevent future attacks, were sifting through international phone records, seeing just who was talking to certain people — people we knew had connections to terrorists. Wouldn’t that be something worth keeping quiet?
Or suppose that someone were to look into the administration’s claims that they are tracking down the money trail of international terrorism, and see just what that involves. They discover that the US government has been, in accordance with American and international laws, been monitoring certain financial transactions through a European-based network, culling through legally-reported records and finding just how the terrorists financed their operations and moved money around. Were this perfectly-legal program to come to light, would that not cause vast harm to our efforts?
It seems to me that any single one of these actions would cause far more harm to our nation than the mention that one CIA desk jockey had used her position to land her husband a gig that he would exploit for his own political ends. But the supporters of the Wilsons see this as high treason, while willfully ignoring such outrages as those above — all of which can be laid at the feet of a single source:
Will anyone who defends the Wilsons take up this challenge and denounce the Times? Can they explain why the case of the Wilsons is so outrageous, so egregious, while the Times’ conduct is above reproach?