Plame-Gate: The Story the Times Would Now Rather Forget

A Times editorial from 2003 wanted to know "who violated federal law by giving the name of [Valerie Plame] to Mr. Novak for publication in his column." Now we know - but since it's not Rove or Libby, the Times has abruptly lost inter

Valerie who? The paper of record seems to need a reminder.

Judging by its sparse coverage, the Times is apparently trying to pretend the Valerie Plame "outing," which for three years was a matter of national import on its editorial page, news pages, and among its stable of liberal columnists, is no longer even newsworthy now that the inconvenient truth (Armitage?) is out.

Plame's CIA identity was leaked to Robert Novak, not by a vengeful White House out to get her husband (anti-war liar Joe Wilson), but by Colin Powell's Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not heretofore known as Bush's biggest defender regarding U.S. intervention in Iraq.

As a reminder, here are some of the accusations against the Bush administration that appeared in the Times thathave now been proven false. We cite them here, since the Times certainly won't.

Reporter Scott Shane, July 24, 2005: "The White House response to Mr. Wilson's accusations, as it unfolded over the next eight days, would be aggressive and comprehensive. At home and from the African road trip, in on-the-record briefings and in background tips to reporters, the president's aides sought to rebut Mr. Wilson's statements and undercut his credibility....But in the enthusiasm of the campaign to discredit Mr. Wilson, someone would expose the real job of the diplomat's wife, Valerie, a C.I.A. officer who had worked under cover for two decades, hiding her position from even close friends and relatives. Whether thoughtless or deliberate, the shattering of Valerie Wilson's cover would prompt the C.I.A. to seek a criminal investigation into the leak. And the investigation would be turned over to a special counsel with a reputation for relentlessly pursuing his quarry."

A Dec. 31, 2003 editorial: "Mr. Fitzgerald is charged with finding out who violated federal law by giving the name of the undercover intelligence operative to Mr. Novak for publication in his column...."

Columnist Paul Krugman, July 7, 2006: "And President Bush is especially unworthy of our trust, because on every front - from his refusal to protect chemical plants to his officials' exposure of Valerie Plame, from his toleration of war profiteering to his decision to place the C.I.A. in the hands of an incompetent crony - he has consistently played politics with national security."

Krugman, October 31, 2005: "The fact remains that officials close to both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Bush leaked the identity of an undercover operative for political reasons. Whether or not that act was illegal, it was clearly unpatriotic."

Krugman, Jan. 16, 2004: "...the Bush people really are Nixonian. The bogus security investigation over Ron Suskind's 'The Price of Loyalty,' like the outing of Valerie Plame, shows the lengths they're willing to go to in intimidating their critics."

By contrast, the Washington Post bluntly states in an editorial today that "one of the most sensational charges leveled against the Bush White House - that it orchestrated the leak of Ms. Plame's identity to ruin her career and thus punish Mr. Wilson - is untrue."

Citing history, Tom Maguire speculates the Times may feel obliged to respond to the Washington Post's dismissal of Plame-gate. That should be a fun read.