Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 24, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

VALERIE PLAME UPDATE....Via Laura Rozen, the Washington Post reports that news organizations are fighting back against subpoenas in the Valerie Plame case:

A federal court should first determine whether a crime has been committed in the disclosure of an undercover CIA operative's name before prosecutors are allowed to continue seeking testimony from journalists about their confidential sources, the nation's largest news organizations and journalism groups asserted in a court filing yesterday.

The 40-page brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, argues that there is "ample evidence...to doubt that a crime has been committed" in the case, which centers on the question of whether Bush administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame in the summer of 2003.

Now, maybe this is just legal mumbo jumbo and doesn't really mean anything. But taking it at face value, it's a bit perplexing.

One of the reasons I continue to take this affair seriously is that I assume (a) the federal prosecutor wouldn't continue to waste resources on this case unless he was pretty sure a law had been broken, and (b) a court wouldn't issue the subpoenas in the first place unless the prosecutor had made a pretty decent prima facie case that there was a violation. The question of whether outing Plame was a violation of the law has been pretty thoroughly aired, after all, and both the prosecutor and the judge are surely aware of the issues at hand.

So is this still an open question? Or are the news organizations just throwing some mud on the wall to see if it sticks? Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 3:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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