Doug Jehl reports the whole story

Someone in the administration volunteered Valerie Plame’s identity to Walter Pincus.
And Douglas Jehl is finally reporting on media figures as actors, not just transmitters of information.

According to Douglas Jehl writing in Friday’sNew York Times, Walter Pincus of the Washington Post has joined the ranks of reporters on the reporters who say that information about Valeried Plame’s role at the CIA was volunteered to them by senior administration officials.

This is going to make it extremely hard for the leakers to get out from under by pretending that the information was either given to them or wheedled out of them by reporters. And, of course, insofar as the officials’ accounts of the interactions don’t match the journalists, there’s the issue of false statements and perjury to consider.

Second-weirdest item in the story: Pincus, who has testified to the grand jury about his conversation, after his source had testified about it, still refuses to make public the name of the source.

Weirdest item in the story, by a long shot: the editors of the New York Times are offering “no comment” to a reporter for the New York Times.

Jehl’s story, which treats the press as part of the action in this case rather than as a neutral observer, is exactly the sort of story that should be written. Of course, it is also exactly the sort of story that should have been written two years ago. Just how Jehl, who was on the White House/Plame aspect of the affair early, backed off or was waved off from covering it this way back then would make an interesting tale.

Still, late is better than never, and both Jehl and his editors deserve kudos for writing and running the piece.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: