For those of you who have enjoyed the argument about whether revealing Valerie Plame’s identity was a crime, I have bad news. The argument is over.
It was a crime. At least, it was if you believe the President of the United States. Here’s the beginning of a story from Tuesday’s New York Times.
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
Published: October 7, 2003
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 President Bush said on Monday that the unauthorized disclosure of an undercover C.I.A. officer’s identity was a “very serious matter” and “a criminal action” as the White House announced that at least 500 of its 2,000 employees had responded to a Justice Department demand for documents as part of an investigation into the source of the leak.
The announcement and Mr. Bush’s adamant words reflected a tougher public approach by the White House to the leak, which has been attributed to senior administration officials. Democrats have criticized the administration for not treating the disclosure of the classified information more forcefully.
Here’s a bit of speculation: Bush’s comment, which makes his supporters who have been insisting otherwise look like a bunch of monkeys, was well designed to monopolize the next news cycle, thus keeping the more substantive story that White House Counsel was going to paw over the documents before giving them to DoJ [*] off the front pages. So far, it’s working.