Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Two Pathetic Plame Defenses

It's almost too easy to shred the ridiculous talking points that the Republicans are trotting out these days in regard to the CIA leak investigation. But experience shows that it's also necessary. So here are two points worth noting:

1. On the talk shows, right-wing spokespeople have been waxing indignant over the "nepotism" that led Valerie Plame to recommend her husband for the Niger investigation, and defending the leak as necessary to expose this appalling instance of cronyism. Question: After all we've been through together, how can anyone assert with a straight face that strategists for the Bush administration are on a mission to rid government of nepotism and cronyism? (Just asking.)

2. Another widespread Republican assertion is the claim that the Plame leak was, at worst, "political hardball," more likely an appropriate act of whistleblowing in defense of the truth, and certainly not a crime. Question: If that's true, why has the administration from the beginning made every effort to cover up its involvement in the leak? As noted by E. J. Dionne in today's WaPo:

Before he trashed Wilson to Miller in a July 8, 2003, meeting, Libby asked that his comments not be attributed to a "senior administration official," the standard anonymous reference to, well, senior administration officials. Instead, he wanted his statements attributed to a "former Hill staffer," a reference to Libby's earlier work in Congress. Why would Libby want his comments ascribed to such a vague source? Miller says she told the special prosecutor that she "assumed Mr. Libby did not want the White House to be seen as attacking Mr. Wilson."

Is this how people normally behave when they are doing something that is perfectly innocent or even laudable?

Again--I'm just asking.

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