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Everyone takes a leak

It seems all of the left is abuzz over the possible indictments over the Valerie Plame leak. Who is to be indicted? Who will escape?

It struck me that there is a sublime level of hypocrisy going on here. The outrage over the Plame case is the revealing of her identity to a reporter, and that has lots of people howling in outrage. But what are they using to feed their fury now?

Leaks. From grand jury proceedings. Leaks that are illegal.

The sanctity of the grand jury is one of the foundations of our justice system. What goes on behind those closed doors should remain secret, until such time as it is required to be made public. A lot of things are said and done that could cause a great deal of harm to the innocent, or allow the guilty to escape, if word got out too early.

But in their rush to beat up the Bush administration over alleged violations of secrecy, they're trampling all over the secrecy of another government institution.

I, personally, have a hard time getting too worked up about the whole thing -- I think it's a huge case of "tempest in a teapot." But I couldn't help note the irony, the hypocrisy, the double standard being applied here, and I'd like to see a couple of those people reporting breathlessly on the latest developments to denounce the leakers and demand an investigation into just who is violating the sanctity of the grand jury. The sudden appearance of integrity and consistency would be quite refreshing.


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Comments (48)

Jay: I believe a witness ma... (Below threshold)

Jay: I believe a witness may disclose their testimony before a grand jury (like Cooper and Miller seem to have done).

The hypocrisy is amazing. ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

The hypocrisy is amazing. A group of people who make their livings based on others leaking information to them are raking someone else over the coals because they leaked information to a member of that group.

I guess leaks are bad when they get someone you don't like in trouble. They are good when it enhances your own reputation.

I know exactly what you mea... (Below threshold)

I know exactly what you mean about leaks and 'anonymous' sources. I couldn't help posting on a story in the paper recently...Washington Post was the source. The story, about leaks, was 7 paragraphs long. The first three end:
"according to a source"
"the source said"
"the source said"
then a quote from Rove, then a brief summary of the 'case', than another "according to a source", and finally a Rove denial and blurb about how what he may or may not have done may not even be a crime.

Brief story about leaks, 7 paragraphs, 4 of them featuring information attributed to a leaking source.

I just have to say that was... (Below threshold)

I just have to say that was the funniest post heading I have seen in,oh,about a year.



Nicely done, Jay. <p... (Below threshold)

Nicely done, Jay.

But I offer one other possibility:

They may be reporting on hopes, not leaks.
They may simply be reporting what they hope will be the result, regardless of the (limited to non-existent) facts.

I think that most of the le... (Below threshold)

I think that most of the leaks are either from those who gave testimony and/or their lawyers and from the Whitehouse trying to manage the fallout from possible indictments. I don't think that they are from illegal sources. Why would the prosecutor and his staff start leaking now after being quiet all this time?

I think in these investigat... (Below threshold)

I think in these investigations the source of the leaks have a rather simple explanation. The prosecutor, Fitzgerald isn't working alone. He has dozens of assistants and staffers. All of them are (like everyone in DC) thinking about future employment. They get called by an old friend who is a mid-level staffer for Senator XYZ. How does he ingratiate himself to a contact for possible employment? With the preferred cash in DC, insider information. Same goes for the press. People leak to a reporter because next month or next year you might need help putting a spin on a bad situation.

Funniest thing about this whole BS is for four years we've heard libs and the MSM complaining that this is the "Most secretive administration ever." And now they are having to fake outrage over information being leaked to the press to counter one of their lies.

To my knowledge not one jot... (Below threshold)

To my knowledge not one jot of info has come out of the Fitzgerald investigation, Jay, you are completely wrong. If you go back and read everything written on this (I have been reading everything I can find on it for months now) all the "sources" so far have been identified as “familiar with the testimony" of someone, or similar read-between-the-lines language. This leaves little doubt that they are, in fact, the lawyers of those involved in the investigation, speaking off the record. Anyone who testifies before the grand jury is free to speak about all aspects of their testimony and the questions asked of them.

Now the real hypocrisy comes when you make up this "leak" story about Fitzgerald, (a desperate attempt to discredit him perhaps?) when he hasn't let one leak out of the 2 year investigation, and yet when Ken Starr had a direct line to the WaPo and other media outlets not a peep was heard from the right about the importance of grand juries remaining shrouded in secrecy. In summary then, Jay, you are wrong. Ken Starr was an unprofessional partisan hack, and Fitzgerald is the model of propriety - a candid and thorough investigator.

Speaking of leaks, read thi... (Below threshold)

Speaking of leaks, read this:
Phoney Baloney

Swoop:How do individ... (Below threshold)

How do individuals giving testimony know that
Fitzgerald is going to indict two people?

Robert Novak is the crimina... (Below threshold)

Robert Novak is the criminal. If he was told her name why did he print it and tell basicly the world? Where is their accountability? I'd like to see some brave lawyer sue him for treason.

The magnifiers of the 'temp... (Below threshold)

The magnifiers of the 'tempest in a teapot' have vague chemical memories of Ted Agnew embedded in their DNA.

Hmmm.What I find c... (Below threshold)


What I find curious is that reporters want to be shielded from prosecution under a federal shield law, but they also want anyone to actually leaks to reporters to be cast in irons.

Anybody else see this is as a bit schizo?

I'd like to see some bra... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I'd like to see some brave lawyer sue him for treason.

Treason is a crime against a country. It's not something you sue over.

Treason!? It is not even ev... (Below threshold)

Treason!? It is not even evident that Novak broke any law.

I'd say that a former ambassador going around spreading lies about an adminstration during a war is treasonous.

George where did you read t... (Below threshold)

George where did you read that? Show me the source and We can discuss. My bet is that what you read is just idle speculation or "hopes."(see Tom_with_a_dream a few posts above mine)

The people testifying befor... (Below threshold)

The people testifying before the grand jury are under no legal obligation to keep their testimony silent. They (or their lawyers or spokesmen) can say whatever they want. This probably accounts for much if not all of the "leaking" going on (unlike Starr, who was hauled up in front of a judge, IIRC, to answer for the leaking sieve his investigation was...). Other means of disclosure might be approaches by Fitzgerald to the targets' attorneys, letters of intent, etc., which once again aren't under the grand jury secrecy provisions.



I have to say, I totally ag... (Below threshold)

I have to say, I totally agree with you, Jay. Hypocrisy abounds. To spend 2 years and millions of dollars only to, possibly, indict on what Sen. Hutchison refers to as "technicalities", is so...so....ummm....familiar! The only thing missing is an intern...and a dress.

splashtc:Do your h... (Below threshold)


Do your homework. Unless you actually live on another planet with different laws, it is not a crime to mention the name of an employee of the CIA when they are not covert agents; and in addition, after a 5 year span of converting from covert to overt.

By the way, Joe Wilson outed his own wife in June 2004 when he allowed her name to be listed as his wife in an article about himself. Do you think he needs to be investigated for this phantom crime also? And what about George Tenet, who gave up her name to Dick Cheney? You do remember George Tenet, right? Former CIA Director?

(Let me help you out here, those were sarcastic and rhetorical questions. You don't need to answer them.)

Jay Tea:

Great post, and I loved the title.


Swoop:Right here:<br... (Below threshold) Oh Swoop, Come Out... (Below threshold)

Oh Swoop,

Come Out, Come Out, Where-ever You Are....

Hellooooo...... [cue the crickets]

Yeah, really. The "two ind... (Below threshold)

Yeah, really. The "two indictments" story is all over the news. How could you not know?

Oh, you mean this? ... (Below threshold)

Oh, you mean this?

"On Tuesday night, news reports, supported by a source close to the lawyers involved in the case, said that target letters to those facing indictment were being issued, with sealed indictments to be filed on Wednesday and released by the end of the week."

Even if this is (whihc is almost certainly isn't) info from someone on the prosecutors side what harm does this"leak" do? Answer: none.

Technicality FTLOG? <... (Below threshold)

Technicality FTLOG?

Fizgerald was granted
"all the authority of the Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity" [which] is plenary and includes the authority to investigate and prosecute violations of any federal criminal laws related to the underlying alleged unauthorized disclosure, as well as federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, your investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses"
by the acting Attorney General on Feb 6th 2004.

From Fitzgerald's website

Technicality indeed!

George if you're talking about the rumour that TOMORROW two indictments (might) be announced (or might be sealed) then please, give me a break. So, 24 hours ahead of time rumours fly about what will be announced. Jeepers creepers! The investigation is leaking like a sieve! Whatever.

TB, your panties are all tw... (Below threshold)

TB, your panties are all twisted.
Robert Novak has a lot of accountability here.
"They asked me not to use her name, but never indicated it would endanger her or anybody else. According to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs. Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative and not in charge of undercover operators," Novak said.

Swoop....I'll bet you block... (Below threshold)

Swoop....I'll bet you blocked your own team's goal, didn't ya?

...in high school, that is.... (Below threshold)

...in high school, that is.

Apologies FTLOG, I guess I ... (Below threshold)

Apologies FTLOG, I guess I missed the sarcasm there. However, I do think any comparison here with the Clinton impeachment is misleading. This is testimony beforea Federal Grand Jury investigating the actions of Gov. officals and Fitzgerald was specifically told to prosecute an interference with his investigation. Contrast that with lurid and clearly politically motivated sexual harrasment charges from relating to another relationship, that was clearly politically motivated. (A CIVIL case that got thrown out of court no less)

The Lewinsky saga was the 'criminalisation of politics.' This is criminal behaviour at the highest levels of government, behaviour threating our national security, during wartime no less.

splashtc:Apparentl... (Below threshold)


Apparently, you're not man or woman enough to wear my "panties", twisted or not.

"They asked me not to use my name" doesn't constitute a broken law, it is a request. When has a request ever stopped any reporter from reporting on fact (or whatever they want)?

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame both used her name publicly before Novak ever wrote his article. Plame in 2000 publicly used her own name while donating to Al Gore's Presidential campaign and Joe Wilson one month prior with the article about himself I mentioned in my previous comment. So...who cares what Novak wrote? It's *moot*, because of these reasons and because *no law was broken*.

This was nothing more than a political story. Joe Wilson is a known liar (he lied about his own Niger report...no intelligence agency in the world has backed down from their intelligence findings). He's been proven to be a political hack and both his family and the media have their "panties in a twist" over being discredited.

As I said, do your homework.

One more quick point about ... (Below threshold)

One more quick point about Wilson's report from Niger, his report supported what other intelligence agencies reported about WMDs in Iraq; his accounts after filing his report go against *his own findings*.

Joe Wilson and Valerie P... (Below threshold)

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame both used her name publicly before Novak ever wrote his article. Plame in 2000 publicly used her own name while donating to Al Gore's Presidential campaign and Joe Wilson one month prior with the article about himself I mentioned in my previous comment.

Did they put "CIA operative" next to her name on any of those occasions? No? Then it isn't really relevant is it? You propose that the fact that she had a name means no one could have outed her as a CIA operative. You do understand which part constitutes the alleged crime, right? (I'll give you a hint, it isn't her name).

This thread and most of the... (Below threshold)

This thread and most of the comments on it are built on two non-issues. First, as has been repeated ad nauseum, the fact that Valerie Plame existed or had a name is not what was secret. Being covert doesn't necessarily mean you're a phantom whom no one knows exists. Geez, this gets answered so many times it's unbelievable. It's the fact that she worked for the CIA that was a secret. All of the conjecture aside, I have yet to see any concrete evidence that her employment by the CIA was a known fact before Novak revealed it.

Second, this whole leaking/hypocrisy thing is a real red herring. Everyone in DC leaks. That's a known fact. It was the content of the leaks, not the fact that leaking occurred, that Fitz is investigating. There's no hypocrisy in trying to get leaked information while condemning someone for leaking classified information. Do you really think this is about stoppping leaking in Washington?

You do understand ... (Below threshold)
You do understand which part constitutes the alleged crime, right? (Mantis)


I have yet to see any concrete evidence that her employment by the CIA was a known fact before Novak revealed it. (Chris)

I may be wrong here but I thought the problem was that someone (Cheney, Libby, Novak, The Vast-Right Wing Conspiracy, etc) leaked Plame's identity as a "spy".
If this is correct, then I admit to Mantis that I do not understand where the crime is. Whoever leaked it, who cares?!

And as people knowing where she worked, I do believe I have heard of printed evidence that she was a CIA employee (I'll hope George has that, I don't right at my finger tips). But it goes back to Mantis' point, it is no crime for you to do a whois search and "out" me as an employee of whatnot. Same for Ms. Plame. She was a regular employee, not a "spy".

That is the problem with this whole 2-year investigation.

That people may have lied to the Grand Jury, they would be good points. I still have a problem with people being held accountable for every single utterance from their lips, years after the fact, especially when the topic was such a non-issue as the non-spy wife who got an unqualified guy a well-payihng job in Niger to lie about WMD.

I should've set my sites hi... (Below threshold)

I should've set my sites higher.

Thanks to Kevin for the "easy to find on the Internet" info on Plame's name and employment status.

Tom_with_annoying_underscor... (Below threshold)


You're right that you don't understand (can't understand... won't understand?) where the crime is. Valerie Wilson (nee Plame) existed. Yes, everyone knew that, or rather anyone who cared to look her up in the phone book or who's who could know that. The problem comes in when she was identified as an "operative" - journo code for a CIA spy, not desk jockey or whatever - by Novak. There is no evidence that anyone knew she was CIA before Novak's column, as her close friends and nieghbours told the FBI two days ago, they just thought she was a mother and wife of Joe Wilson that worked at an energy consulting firm. Now, Novak can write what he likes with out getting in any trouble about this, but whoever told him about this and suggested that he write about it, is quite possibly in some depp doo-doo. Knowingly outing a spy is a crime, and to quote George H W Bush, who ever did this is "the worst kind of traitor."

good recap swoop- but I thi... (Below threshold)

good recap swoop- but I think Novak is the traitor to our government for knowingly outing a spy. The press is not talking about it because they don't attack one of their own. We are the government and should hold the press accountable.

Why does the Left always re... (Below threshold)

Why does the Left always resort to name-calling when they realize they are in a corner? [/rhetorical]

As for your point,
If I out you as a spy (and who wouldn't think that "Swoop" wasn't a cool-as-can-be spyname), regardless of the inaccuracy, does that mean I am going to be arrested and convicted as a traitor?

Of course not, I will be laughed at as a lazy pajama-journalist for not doing any research or fact-checking, but I won't be arrested.

Calling someone an "operative" is not the same as leaking the name of a deep-undercover spy. Period.

As for the "deep doo-doo":
Let's all wait for the report before we go off half-cocked and start spreading stories about people.
If it later shown that they are not the center of the probe, and have no indictments, etc against them, I'd hate to be left wondering when everyone will start apologizing. It'd be easier to not have to apologize in the first place.

Hmm... Interesting. ... (Below threshold)

Hmm... Interesting.

Well, not really, I guess.

No the journalist isn't the... (Below threshold)

No the journalist isn't the one that is the traitor, at all, and I didn't say that. Now don't get me wrong, since Novak was told not to publish this info by the CIA, he's certainly a shmuck, but not a traitor. He's allowed to write what he wants (as I made clear before). However if the guy that gave the journalist the name, and knew that the agent was under NOC or similar, but still did it - just to get back at her husband - then that guy, IS a traitor. Revealing the name of one of our own spies, in the middle of a war, is bad news, what part of that don't you get?

I agree, we'll have to wait and see. But when it all comes out I don't wnat to hear all this, 'there was no crime blah blah blah' - all the dots are there to connect right now.

Yes Tom_ you guessed it, I'm a spy.

Mantis and splashtc:<... (Below threshold)

Mantis and splashtc:

. A heavy, heavy one at that.

You both need to do your homework. She wasn't and isn't a spy. She was and is, an analyst. This is *not* a crime. This is *not* a story. Any indictments handed down will be because of the *process* of the investigation, not the *subject* of the investigation.

You both now have a homework assignment. Read Kevin Aylward's post entitled "PlameGate - Plame Name No Secret".

If you still don't get it, nothing can help you.

The first word in my previo... (Below threshold)

The first word in my previous comment was supposed to be a SIGH....not a period. Oh well.

Sorry, but Kevin's post was... (Below threshold)

Sorry, but Kevin's post was just a rehash of previously discredited claims, and was thoroughly debunked in the comments section.

Riiiiiight.We shal... (Below threshold)


We shall soon see what is fact or fiction when Fitzgerald completes the investigation.

Calling someone a traitor, ... (Below threshold)

Calling someone a traitor, or a racist or a thief or whatever, without any evidence on the presumption that they could be a fill in the blank is ridiculous.

Swoop, you say that if the White House leaked a known NOC or similar then they are traitors yet we know that she was not a spy.
Case closed, no one should still be using the t-word. What don't you get about why we righties get so bent when you lefties keep hammering this tired, dead horse?

Also, you admit in your post that we should wait, something we on the right are all about, but that only comes after you have already thrown the t-word around. I don't get it...

(I went and re-read your post, and was struck by this...)

But when it all comes out I don't wnat to hear all this, 'there was no crime blah blah blah' - all the dots are there to connect right now.

So, when it all comes out (lets assume for the moment, since the dots are all there to connect) in our favor, you sill claim that we can't say "there was no crime blah blah blah"?

Why not?

So far, I have not heard the loudest on your side (I am picturing Dean right now, for what its worth) slamming the Administration or the Right in general on the violation of the law. Everyone seems to universally agree that the Plame woman was a non-spy. No Crime.
So yes, we are going to "blah blah blah" you to death when the investigation finally ends...

<a href="http://sayanything... (Below threshold)

This is relevant, but only for those willing to the fact that Joe Wilson's little holiday to Niger (resulting in a report to the Senate Intelligence Committee) and his infamous op-ed were at odds with each other.

The need to embarass Mr. Joe was simply not there, he was doing a fine enough job of that himself.

"Everyone seems to universa... (Below threshold)

"Everyone seems to universally agree that the Plame woman was a non-spy." What world do you live in? I guess when you say "everyone" you're not including the CIA? But hey, what would they know about who's a spy and who isn't?

Chris:George Tenet... (Below threshold)


George Tenet, former director of the CIA, had no problem disclosing her name and title to Cheney.

I'm sure he'd know what he's allowed to say and what he wasn't allowed to say. And, I'm sure he would've made it a point to tell Cheney the confidentiality of that information.

It's no9t illegal for the W... (Below threshold)

It's no9t illegal for the WITNESS to tell all. But it's obvious that much of the information is coming from inside the prosecution camp. While,there are several possible spots (admin personnel, US Mardhals securting the gj, secretaries, court reporters0, the kind of information malkes it clear the leakers are government prosecutors (could be higher ups in the Dept of Justice, not Fitzgerald or his assistants), or FBI agents, supervisors or higher FBI officials. In this case, as in mostcases with prosectuion leaks, your money should always be on the FBI. The FBI leaks morning, noon and night, first time, every time. Even when there's nothing to be gained.It's what they do.






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