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Saturday, October 04, 2003

Leakgate blahblahblah... I haven't posted much of anything about it, 'cause it seems to be a non-issue. Activist former-Ambassador shopping for a movie deal tries to fling shit at Karl Rove and after several months, finally gets some traction. Was his wife a spook? Not sure we'll ever know. Has he outed her before? Probably. Was he complicit in getting her name published? Absolutely.

Funny thing about flinging shit; when it starts hitting the fan, there's no telling who might get dirty. Take, for instance, General Clark. Over at Right-Thinking , Lee makes an interesting point about Clark's "leaks" to the press:
    "'General Clark, who retired from the Army three years ago, said that since leaving the service he had been briefed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and seen some of the intelligence that led the administration to declare war in Iraq. In neither case, he said, had he heard or seen anything that should have compelled the nation to war.'

    Now, I might be way off base here, but I'd be willing to bet money that the information shown Clark by Rumsfeld was classified -- highly classified, even -- and he has chosen to share his impressions of that information as a way to advance his political ambitions. Would this qualify as a "leak" of classified or otherwise confidential information? Perhaps there should be an investigation.

    So, he willingly accepts classified intelligence reports, then uses the fact that he's retired to discuss that information with the press. Whether or not Clark gets into specifics, the discussions with Rumsfeld were undoubtedly held with the degree of confidence in confidentiality that a SecDef could expect to have with the retired commander of NATO. Yet Clark then has the temerity to call in the same breath for investigations of George W. Bush, a man once praised by Clark as having, 'the courage and the vision... and we will always be grateful to President George Bush for that tremendous leadership and statesmanship.' "
Interesting point, indeed.

In a similar vein, former-Abassador and general muckracker Wilson was recently under the employee of the CIA, to investigate the veracity of the British claims of yellowcake purchases in Nigeria (if you recall, this was at the prodding of his wife--the whole basis for the Leakgate kurfuffle). No doubt he signed a security or confidentiality agreement with the Agency. Wouldn't his disclosure of that information be grounds for investigation and potential penalties (certainly a CIA confidentiality agreement must contain some penal enforcement provision...)?

Now, one of my rabid Democrat friends (yes, I admit, I have a few) has tried to defend this position claiming something akin to the right of a soldier to refuse an unlawful order. While no such logical connection can be drawn (the affirmative defense of not following an order unlawfully given v. the perception that one has a 'moral' obligation to come forward as a whistle-blower) the question could be raised, "Did Wilson have an ethical obligation to speak out against the Bush Administration where he believed, based on secret information obtained in the course of his contract with the CIA?"

Simply put, I don't think it matters. The facts are still very much in contention as to whether the information that the Administration relied upon was substantiated. The British maintain to this day that their information was correct. Furthermore, common sense dictates that when a country such as Iraq, with the world's second largest oil reserves, comes calling on a country like Nigeria, which has two major exports, oil and un-enriched uranium, that they aren't looking for more oil. When and if this investigation is expanded, the question should become, "What did Wilson know, and when did he leak it?" Also, I'm not certain that a legitmate "whistle-blower" defense could even be brought, given the national security issues involved, and the fact that Wilson was not "blowing the whistle" on criminal activity, merely what he thought was an inaccuracy in information. Not that I think he'll ever be brought to answer for his misdeeds.

Speaking of enriched uranium, any bets on when we bomb Iran?