Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Rush to Judgment

Rush to Judgment

Surprisingly the Washington Post has a sensible editorial on the Valerie Plame affair in today's paper. Of particular note are the last two paragraphs:

This affair began with a trip to Niger undertaken by former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, which he said disproved one of the Bush administration's contentions about Saddam Hussein and nuclear weapons. Columnist Robert D. Novak reported that Mr. Wilson had been chosen in part because Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA; Mr. Wilson then charged that administration officials had deliberately blown his wife's undercover status to punish him for his truth-telling.

If so, they should be punished. Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald may have evidence that they did; there is a still a great deal that is not publicly known. But so far, in the accounts given by reporters about their conversations with administration officials, no such crime has been described. What has been depicted is an administration effort to refute the allegations of a critic (some of which did in fact prove to be untrue) and to undermine his credibility, including by suggesting that nepotism rather than qualifications led to his selection. If such conversations are deemed a crime, journalism and the public will be the losers.

I say these are of note because this is the first time I have seen an editorial at a major paper:

1. Get the basic facts (as I understand them) straight.
2. Admit no crime may have been commited.
3. Admit Ambassador Wilson lied about at least part of the story.
4. In an oblique way ask the question, "When did it become a crime to tell the truth?".

Maybe some progress is being made.

Betsy Newmark has more.
Wizbang has a related post.

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