If you read John Tierney‘s last New York Times column (you can only access the link if you’re a NYT/TimesSelect subscriber alas), you’ll find the beginnings of the Republican campaign to discredit Pat Fitzgerald’s CIA leak investigation. And it certainly is a tedpid, unpersuasive one at that. Here are some of the eye-openers it contains:
The White House struck back by leaking its side of the [Niger-WMD] story and disparaging Wilson – some of whose claims were indeed found to be false by a subsequent Senate investigation. It now looks as if the White House leakers were accurate in their warnings to reporters to be leery of Wilson’s story.
“It now looks…” and with that sweeping and vaguely substantiated generalization he attempts to discredit Wilson’s own NYT column. One might ask “looks to whom?” To John Tierney? Just what precisely was wrong about Wilson’s story? Was there yellow cake uranium going to Iraq? Were there aluminum tubes for WMD production going from Niger to Iraq? Gee, I guess there wasn’t. That was the heart of Wilson’s story. If you can’t discredit that, then you’re wasting your–and your reader’s–time. Not to mention that this scandal now no longer revolves around whether or not Wilson was right, as he undoubtedly was. It’s gone far beyond that. Poor John is still trying to discredit Wilson when Pat Fitzgerald, the grand jury, and almost everyone else concerned about this case have long ago gone on to concern themselves with possible violations of national security and perjury statutes.
John throws in this doozy for good measure:
…No one deserves to go to jail for leaking information to reporters without criminal intent. The special prosecutor was assigned to look for serious crimes, not to uncover evidence that bureaucrats blame other bureaucrats when things go wrong.
No one deserves to be indicted on conspiracy charges for belonging to a group that believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Foreign policy mistakes are not against the law.
Note that Tierney feels that perjury is not a “serious crime.” But I guess when a Democratic president perjures himself (Clinton) it’s “serious”; but when a Republican does it it’s not serious. And if Libby and Rove are indicted on conspiracy charges you can be damn sure it won’t have anything to do with their botched effort to provide a false rationale for war (as Tierney seems to believe). It will have everything to do with lying to a grand jury in a pathetic attempt to protect oneself (in Libby & Rove’s cases) and one’s boss (in Libby’s case).