Treason, no less. A leading Democrat, Henry Waxman, howls in Congress that “the intentional disclosure of a covert CIA agent’s identity would be an act of treason. If Rove was part of a conspiracy and intentionally disclosed the name–then that jeopardizes national security.” Liberal columnists like Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times join the Waxman chorus.
But suppose one of Valerie Plame’s covert CIA missions, until outed by Karl Rove, had been to liaise with Venezuelan right-wingers planning to assassinate President Hugo Chávez, possibly masquerading as a journalist and using her attractions to get close to the populist president and try to poison him, just as the agency tried to poison Fidel Castro. In an earlier incarnation Scheer would surely have been only too happy to jeopardize national security by exposing Plame’s true employer.
Thirty-eight years ago Scheer was one of the editors of Ramparts, and in February 1967 that magazine ran an exposé of covert CIA funding of the National Student Association, prompting furious charges that it had endangered national security, which, from the foreign policy establishment’s point of view, it most certainly had.
The CIA’s covert wing is not in the business of advancing world peace and general prosperity. The record of sixty years is one of uninterrupted evil. So we should drop all this nonsense about treason and clap Rove warmly on the back for his courageous onslaughts on the cult of secrecy. By all means delight in the White House’s discomfiture, but spare us the claptrap about national security and treason.
To thread one’s way through coverage of the Plame affair, the jailing of Judy Miller, the contempt citations of four journalists in the Wen Ho Lee case and the AIPAC/Franklin spy case is like strolling past distorting mirrors in a fun house. Go from one to the next and the swollen giant of “treason” in the West Wing of the White House shrinks to the dwarflike status of a “leak,” which is how AIPAC’s defenders like to categorize the transmission of a top-secret Presidential Directive on Iran from the Pentagon, via Larry Franklin, to AIPAC officials and thence to a spymaster, Naor Gilon, in the Israeli Embassy in Washington.
Judy Miller too has had an image makeover, from the warmongering fabricator of yesterday to today’s martyr to the First Amendment, with years of profitable speaking tours beckoning after she is released from the incarceration that has winched her reputation out of the mud.
But why is prosecutor Fitzgerald going after her? She wrote no story about Plame. Now, as prime propagandist in the war faction, Miller would have been as keen to discredit Wilson as was Rove. Suppose she was Waxman’s traitor, the one who relayed from her prime disinformant, Ahmad Chalabi, the news that it was CIA employee Plame who assigned her husband the Niger mission. Relayed to whom? Maybe to one of the State Department’s neocon warmongers, like John Bolton or Elliott Abrams, who duly passed the news on to Scooter Libby and Rove in the White House.