Monday, February 28, 2005

Glenn Reynolds, the conservative avatar of the internet, recently posted a brief notice about the Plame investigation.

For those who have forgotten about Valerie Plame, she's the CIA spy whose identity was published by columnist Robert Novak nearly two years ago. Since Plame's husband is Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador who publicly contradicted President Bush's assertion that Saddam Hussein had sought uranium in Africa, the conspiracy theory goes that Plame was outted as retaliation for her husband's remarks.

What bothers me about the Glenn Reynolds post is that it falls into the trap of conflating two very separate issues. Whether a crime was committed in publicly publishing Plame's name is quite a different matter from whether two reporters, namely Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, ought to be jailed for failing to disclose their confidential sources after being subpoenaed.

Yet from reading Reynolds' post, which appears in full below, you would never know that:
PLAME UPDATE: Tom Maguire observes:

There is nothing like the prospect of an imminent hanging to concentrate the mind; apparently, the prospect of having one of their reporters go to jail for eighteen months has concentrated the minds of the NY Times editors on the legal subtleties of the Valerie Plame leak investigation.

Shockingly, the leak may never have been a crime! And thus does the NYT catch up to a theory that has been circulating on the blogosphere for a year. As I've said before where the Times is concerned, better late than never!

If you actually read the Times' editorial in reference here, you would be quite aware that Maguire and Reynolds are horribly mangling two widely disparate subjects.

And I wonder, too, whether Reynolds would be this glib about the naming of a covert operative if the operative were a staunch conservative and the reporter a liberal. Regardless of political affiliation, the matters at hand -- only national security and the freedom of the press -- deserve more respect than that.


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