Thursday, October 13, 2005

confused by cohen

I'm confused by Richard Cohen's column today. He wants Patrick Fitzgerald to drop the Plamegate investigation. But he doesn't want him to issue an indictment or to fold up his tent. What else CAN he do? Either he quits, or he indicts somebody, unless there is a third legal option I can't think of -- can he scold people?

I'm not sure I buy Cohen's idea that the Fitzgerald case could quell leaks and deprive journalists and the American people of important information. Leaks happen for many reasons, political and personal, and those reasons will always be present, and in most instances they DON'T violate the law.

THIS particular investigation is being conducted because the leaker gave away the identity of an undercover CIA operative. The fact that it was to Bob Novak is not a central element, it would still have been a crime if Karl Rove, oops I mean the unknown leaker, had disclosed Plame's identity to the Russian Ambassador or Barry Bonds.

Cohen's point that there was no intent to have Plame assassinated, therefore this shouldn't be seen as a violation of law is crap. First, intent doesn't automatically get you off; if you don't believe me, try speeding thru a school zone and telling the cop you didn't intend to endanger any kids.

Second, we DON'T KNOW whether anybody has paid a price, maybe even with their life, because of the exposure of Plame's true identity and employer. This law protects foreigners abroad who are giving the US information as much as it protects Valerie Plame and her fellow undercover operatives.

Cohen must be blinded by Judy Miller's pose of selfless heroism.