Monday, April 17, 2006

Washingtonian Interconnectivity

I'm working on el primitivo computer, so can't blog at length, but here are three interrelated articles that may be of interest, which by the bye, through a side door, connect the Plame case to the AIPAC case.

Here's Christopher Hitchens writing about 'Clueless Joe Wilson'. I'd differ from him in one sense only. He seems to think that Wilson's motives in failing to understand what was going on before his face in Niger resulted, one way or another, from his cluelessness. I guess he doesn't want to libel Joe Wilson, but it is not clear to me that the man was necessarily clueless and not necessarily ill-motivated in his 'failure' to understand what was going on. In any case, Macranger, blogging at Macsmind, spent a lot of time in the fall and winter unraveling possible scenarios for Joe Wilson's cluelessness. He was ahead of Hitchens in several respects about Wilson.

Moreover, the memo at the State Department, recently declassified, contains no hint that Plame's role at the CIA was classified or covert, reports Josh Gerstein writing in the invaluable NYSun.

So there goes that conspiracy theory.

Finally, here's an article in the Forward suggesting that Bush's decision to leak info about unranium sales to Niger to select journalists several days before large parts of the NIE was declassified will help the defendants' position in the AIPAC case.
Late last month, the federal district judge in the case, T.S. Ellis III, raised constitutional questions about the prosecution of the two former Aipac staffers, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman. Now, some observers argue, the two men are likely to benefit from developments in the Libby case that highlight the frequent use of leaks and classified information in Washington among politicians, lobbyists and reporters.

"The Libby developments will serve to educate the public and perhaps the jury about the realities of leaking in Washington, which is a daily occurrence that is often instigated at the highest level of government," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. "So the future jury members are likely to recall in the back of their minds that the president also selectively disclosed previously classified information to advance his agenda. It puts the actions of the defendants in a different light and helps them by placing their offense in context."...

"The administration's admitted policy of selective leaking to embarrass its enemies and conceal the truth won't help the government case" in Rosen and Weissman's trial, said Douglas Bloomfield, a former director of legislative affairs at Aipac. "What Rosen and Weissman were doing is no different than what reporters, lobbyists, experts, Congress and half of the government is doing, which is to find out what the administration is up to. This can't be a crime in a free society."

Rosen and Weissman filed a motion in January to dismiss the charges against them, arguing that the 1917 Espionage Act's prohibition on receiving and disclosing "national defense information" — even if it is unclassified — is too broad.

Previous articles on the Plame case can be found here


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