Comments: To continue...

Welcome back.

Read the law - Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.)
(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents)

(b) Disclosure of information by persons who learn identity of covert agents as result of having access to classified information
Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identify of a covert agent and intentionally
discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing
that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

In this case, Novak did not use the word "covert". Also, according to Novak, the CIA did not make a strong attempt to prevent him from publishing her name (thus challenging the affirmative measures test). Finally, the term "covert" has a legal definition and I'm not sure if technically at the time, Plame was in a "covert" status.

Cooper and Miller are being jailed not for writing about Plame, but not revealing their source(s). The fact Novak is not being jailed in spite of being interviewed by the Special Prosecutor may mean he has in fact given up his source(s)..or that he is being protected by his friends, both in and out of the administration.

Posted by Col Steve at February 18, 2005 11:21 PM

If Novak gave up his source, interviewing Cooper and Miller is a waste of time, and jailing them is an attempt to chill reporters' activities and that is a scandal. If Novak is being protected by his administration allies, that is a scandal. If Plame was not "technically" in covert status at the time (and Novak's defense makes no sense to me, unless he went to the CIA before he published and said "I've got this info. I'm going to publish it unless it's illegal" and they didn't immediately arrest him), then the prosecutions are highly discretionary, i.e. we have to have better things to do with our tax dollars.

Either way, Novak walking around free while Cooper and Miller go to jail is scandalous.

Posted by Jonathan Dresner at February 19, 2005 01:31 AM

Novak claims he did seek confirmation with the CIA. He stated that the CIA made only a "weak" attempt to prevent him and the fact they didn't aggressively try to stop him bolster his argument about lack of "affirmative actions."

Since the special prosecutor recordings are sealed at this point, Novak may indeed have revealed the sources but the prosecutor is looking to verify the information by going against Miller/Cooper. After all, if one witness identifies a suspect, does the prosecutor stop there is he or she determines there were other witnesses to the same crime?

If Novak hasn't revealed his source, then I agree that, without knowing some special circumstances, the failure to go after him in the same way is scandalous. But if he has, then I disagree with you - highly unlikely the government could get Novak/Cooper about printing the name and if Novak has cooperated, why should he go to jail?

Posted by Col Steve at February 19, 2005 10:10 PM

Hey Ann, how are you doing?

a hundred years from now I'll be a hundred and er, 29, and my grades still wont be good enough to get into Harvard, but I guess if I get a personal retirement account I'll be able to afford the tuition, because Greenspan said it was a good idea. And yes, I really did get a search for "trilateral comission sexual preferences". Pity I didn't have comments back then. But I'm Hugo Zoom, not Hugo Schwyzer. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but I seriously doubt Schwyzer is his real name. It sounds like one of those crazy made-up internet names to me. I'm much more interesting, and I'll bet I'm less vain, too.

Guckert will get paid a pretty penny to confess that he's a crazy-ass Kerry-luvin' democrat. Then CNN and MSNBC,etc will start talking about his whoring...just in time to distract people from Syria and Iran.

Posted by Hugo at February 20, 2005 01:07 AM

Thanks, Col. Steve. I suppose it's nice to be back. :) I'm already getting all overheated about things again.

Re, the Novak situation? I think the bottom line is that there's something wrong in this situtation.

Plame's name should not have been published. All sensible people agree with that fact.

Had the NYT, for instance, done the publishing, there would have been shrill cries from the right about "giving aid to terrorists." But it wasn't. A conservative actually published the name...revealed the identify of a CIA operative, and any outcry from the Right about that is deafening in its absence.

The question it more "dangerous" for someone know know, but not tell, the identity of a CIA operative, or for someone to both know and publish that information?

I consider the role of whatever government person actually revealed Plame's name to be a separate question. (I.e., should it have been revealed? Absolutely not. Why was it? Revenge against her husband for making the Bush Administration look bad seems to be the only answer. And that, too, is wrong. In fact, it's more wrong, because the very people CIA operatives rely upon to protect them are thus complicit in endangering an operative.)

Posted by Anne at February 20, 2005 11:00 AM