The eerie silence continues

Senator Chuck Schumer has written to Robert Mueller of the FBI asking for an investigation of how Valerie Plame’s identity was compromised. [Press release; letter.] Matt Yglesias makes fun of Schumer’s “self-promotion,” but that’s the way things work. Mueller can in the end refuse to launch a formal investigation, but can’t just ignore Schumer, because he’s subject to being asked questions about it later.

Donald Luskin on NRO (*) sees quite clearly how big the potential problem is for Bush.

Luskin tries to shift the blame to Wilson: by identifying himself as having gone on a CIA mission, he virtually outed his wife as an agent. Huh? A former Ambassador to a Francophone West African country gets sent on an information-gathering mission to another Francophone West African country. His wife is, to all appearances, an energy consultant. What about that combination of facts would make someone sit up and say “Aha! She must be a spook”?

[Luskin is, appropriately, embarrassed at having called Krugman three kinds of fool for mentioning the scandal before Luskin understood what it was about. But that doesn’t keep him from explaining that Krugman is still a fool, and was a fool in this instance, but merely got lucky. Luskin, who read Krugman’s piece without having read, or known of, Corn’s account or the blogospheric activity Corn’s account generated, assumed that Krugman was just making it up.]

Dick meyer on CBS (*) says “think Nixon.”

And the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Instapundit, Volokh Conspiracy, and Kausfiles are all eerily silent. What are they waiting for? Anyone who still believes in the mythical liberal media is invited to imagine what the state of play of this story two weeks in would have been under the Clinton Administration or under a hypothetical Gore Administration.

If you want a really chilling bit of insight into how Washington reporters think these days, here (*), thanks to the MinuteMan, is a piece of the transcript from an on-line dialogue featuring Joel Achenbach of the Post:

Questioner: Speaking of scandals, recently Bob Novak was given information by the Bush administration that, when published, effectively outed the wife of of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV as an undercover operative. This would seem to be an act of revenge against Ambassador Wilson for having gone public with the truth about Uraniumgate, i.e. that the document supporting Bush’s claims was bogus.

My understanding is that intentionally exposing (thus endangering) one of our undercover intel folks is actually illegal, as well as immoral and counterproductive. Do you think this issue will develop any traction?

Joel Achenbach: I don’t think they’re going to throw Novak in jail for that, no. Nor are they likely to beat the bushes at the White House to see who Novak’s source was.

It would be hard to compress more complacent ignorance into so few words. The statute applies to those who reveal secret information, not to those who write about it, so no one is proposing to “throw Novak in jail.” If he means that it’s not likely that the White House and the Justice Department will look hard for the source, that’s probably right, but it’s a scandal all by itself. And if he means that no reporter wants to go after someone else’s sources, then we need to ask some serious questions about media ethics.

I hate to endorse the MinuteMan’s cynical assertion (*) that the story won’t be covered because the people who should be covering it are too busy sucking up to their sources and don’t want to help stir up a leak hunt when they rely on leaks for their livelihood, but that explanation is looking better every day the Times and the Post act as if this story wasn’t there.

[Thread starts here.]

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: