More bad news for Rove, Libby, et al.: Lawrence Franklin has agreed to plead guilty to leaking classfied information to two AIPAC staff members.
Why do say that’s bad news for the folks who outed Valerie Plame Wilson? Because Franklin was indicted under the Espionage Act (specifically 18 U.S.C. 793 (d)) for giving classified information to those not eligible to receive it, including members of the media.
No money involved, no inteligence identities. And yet Franklin is pleading out. Looks to me as if the
Espionage Act is still alive, and as if it applies squarely to the facts of the Plame case.
The maximum sentence, by the way, is 10 years, and the guidelines call for 87-108 months.
We may need some modifications to the Espionage Act. As written, it goes too far in shutting the mouths of those who know information that, while classified, can in fact be revealed without damage to the national security and which the public has a need to know. I’d favor adding an element of actual damage to the national security to the offense. But in the Plame case, that test is easily met.