As important as it is to stay on top of the Roberts nomination, I think the guy will get in unfortunately because he seems to be able to hide his ruthless conservatism behind a nod, smile and a wink if necessary in Reagan-esque fashion (unlike the snarling maniac John Bolton whose recess appointment will expire next January). Also, I didn't see the NARAL ad, so I can't comment on it. If I do, I will.
The Supreme Court nomination (of John Roberts) succeeded in more ways than one. It is not likely a sheer coincidence that the unraveling story of the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame by Karl Rove and at least one other White House adviser, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, suddenly became absent from the headlines. I was dramatically reminded of the story, however, while watching the televised Senate hearing on the subject of classified security guidelines and law as regards our intelligence community on July 22.We have to keep "fighting the fight," but I don't think that is a day we will ever see.
The panel's testimony was striking in a number of ways. First, the panel itself was quite bipartisan. Second, its members soundly dispelled all of the calculated myths being deployed by the White House against Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson, the former ambassador to Iraq who received high praise from Bush One as a hero after the Gulf War.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst, organized this panel of former intelligence officers. Point by point, Johnson took on the now-familiar talking points being repetitiously spun with the intention of discrediting and slandering still further the reputations and motives of Plame and her husband. The myth is that she was not a classified operative at all, and was merely a "desk jockey" and that it was she who sent Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate the alleged sale of nuclear material to Iraq, an allegation now well known to be based on a forged document.
The most sobering point brought home by Larry Johnson and this panel, however, was that irreparable damage has been done to the intelligence gathering community worldwide, which has ultimately had a deep and negative impact upon our ability to collect information and protect the American people.
The word is hereby out internationally to anyone thinking about collaborating and going covert with us, that the U.S. is not to be trusted with your identity. The unprecedented leaking of an intelligence agent's identity by a president's high officer, for cheap political reasons at that, is no trivial matter.
Johnson stated within his report that he voted for George W. Bush because he had grown tired of a presidency that asked what the meaning of "is" is. Now he finds himself wondering about a presidency which raises the far more serious and disingenuous question of what the meaning of "leak" is.
My hope is that the American public, and the news media, will not go back to sleep on this issue and will join Larry Johnson in asking President Bush to stop playing semantic parlor games and come forth with a full explanation.