TRANSITIONS ARE HARD! An e-mailer challenges no harm, no foul. With lightning speed, we answer: // link // print // previous // next //
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2005
TRANSITIONS ARE HARD: We arent going to post today, except for one brief e-mail Q-and-A. A reader asked a good question about the notion of no harm, no foul in the Plame outing matter (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/25/05). Here was his statement:
E-MAIL: No harm, no foul?With lightning quickness, we replied:
REPLY: Good points. But I would want to know if there was harm, and I'd want to know if the "outing" was knowing and deliberate. By "no harm" in this case, I would mean that Plame's identity was "overclassified"—that she wasn't really a covert agent any more, and that nothing actually turned on "outing" her. I have no idea what the facts are on that, although I assume that Fitzgerald does. (As I've often said, I got the impression from his hard pursuit that he may have found that real harm was done.) I don't assume the accuracy of what Wilsons presentations on these matters, or of the CIA's statements and judgments. If there was real harm, and the outing was deliberate, I'd favor full prosecution.Our mailer replied with a proposed rephrasing: Still, I have problems with your statement: If there was real harm, and the outing was deliberate, I'd favor full prosecution. Perhaps I'd rephrase it: If Plame and the CIA were really treating her role seriously as an undercover position, and the outing was deliberate, I'd favor full prosecution. There is no way of knowing if there was real harm unless she's essentially already outed herself.
Fitzgerald is more experienced than we are. In general, wed prefer that this be prosecuted in as normal a manner as possible. (Obviously, this is a fairly distinctive case.) We think the liberal cheerleading for prosecution is unbelievably childish and unwise—a childish portent of future disaster for liberal and progressive interests. We did a post on this today—one we decided not to present. Who knows—maybe well post it tomorrow? Yes, transitions are clunky.