Thursday, November 03, 2005

Playin' the Plame Name Game

I've held silence on this issue for quite a while now, only commenting briefly on other blogs regarding the debacle.

Here's how I see it right now, and I'll forewarn you, my thoughts will probably be rather fragmented.

From the beginning, it's never been clear whether Valerie Plame Wilson's employment with the CIA carried the type of protections afforded to "covert agents." Whereas her use of her maiden name seemed to indicate that her identity was at least masked to some degree, that's not the level of protection generally provided to an agent whose career (and potentially life) hinges upon their employment by the Agency being top secret.

That said, if the extent of her "undercover" nature was using her maiden name, I sincerely doubt that it would be possible for her to be "outed" in a way that was a compromise to our national security.

So much for the "treason" meme.

Then there's the charges of obstruction of justice and perjury that have come out on Libby. I did comment elsewhere that I've never been a fan of these "sidebar" charges when the initial allegation didn't happen, but perjury remains a serious crime, as it chips at the foundational integrity of our legal system. As such, if Libby, Rove, or anyone else committed such a crime before the grand jury, they should be convicted and sentenced.

But because of the current political mood, inspired by the liberals and the MSM, there arises a significant problem. According to what has become "conventional wisdom" because of the liberal onslaught, if Libby is convicted, Rove should have been, as well. If Libby is acquitted, it will be spun as evidence of the "Rethuglican conspiracy." If Libby and Rove are somehow both convicted of wrongdoing, it will be evidence of the "culture of corruption."

In other words, the Republicans are already sunk, in the MSM's eyes, and those of the most vocal liberals.

So how to rise from this? Republicans must learn for once, to stick to the program (see my earlier post on a "Damn the Torpedoes RNC"), regardless of what the MSM says about how they're perceived. The Republicans have run scared anytime the MSM reported that a poll reflected that their latest position was unpopular. They've never tried turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to those reports and foraging ahead with the things that got them elected. It just might work. If nothing else, it will give the American people a clear choice at the next election.

The unasked question in all of this is whether the CIA itself did anything following the "leak." By definition, if the identity of an undercover agent is discovered, that slip constitutes a very serious offense within the ranks of the Agency, and is typically followed by an internal investigation. Did that happen? If so, what did they find? If not, doesn't that fact by itself establish that Mrs. Wilson was actually not an agent who could have been "outed" because she simply was not covert.

Perhaps at some time in the future, the MSM will quit trying to find out when Cheney and Bush knew (assuming they actually did know prior to the Novak column), and turn their attention to matters that, well, actually matter. I'm not, however, holding my breath.

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