On July 14, in his syndicated column, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Robert Novak reported that Valerie Plame Wilson - the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and mother of three-year-old twins - was a covert CIA agent. (She had been known to her friends as an "energy analyst at a private firm.")
Why was Novak able to learn this highly secret information? It turns out that he didn't have to dig for it. Rather, he has said, the "two senior Administration officials" he had cited as sources sought him out, eager to let him know. And in journalism, that phrase is a term of art reserved for a vice president, cabinet officers, and top White House officials.
Why is the Administration so avidly leaking this information? The answer is clear. Former ambassador Wilson is famous, lately, for telling the truth about the Bush Administration's bogus claim that Niger uranium had gone to Saddam Hussein. And the Bush Administration is punishing Wilson by targeting his wife. It is also sending a message to others who might dare to defy it, and reveal the truth.
No doubt the CIA, and Mrs. Wilson, have many years, and much effort, invested in her career and skills. Her future, if not her safety, are now in jeopardy.
After reading Novak's column, The Nation's Washington Editor, David Corn, asked, "Did senior Bush officials blow the cover of a US intelligence officer working covertly in a field of vital importance to national security--and break the law--in order to strike at a Bush administration critic and intimidate others?"
The answer is plainly yes. Now the question is, will they get away with it?
What have we been saying here? The press simply has lost its heart and ambition. The media's ability to think for themselves and do some investigative work has completely vanished. Dean has noticed as well.
While this case is a travesty, it won't be the first one that this administration has managed to get away with. Given the new the nadir of investigative journalism, this administration has been emboldened. And why not? Lately, the mainstream media has seemed more interested in stockholders than readers. If Congress won't meaningfully investigate these crimes - and, indeed, even if it will - it is the press's duty to do so. Let us hope it fulfills that duty. But I am not holding my breath about that, either.
This is NOT a job for the alternative media. This is a job that's supposed to be done by the mainstream press. Lazy, lazy, lazy. They're a disgrace to all the journalists who preceeded them.