05 February 2007

I'm a journalist, Jim, not a fact finder

[source]

One might have hoped that, two weeks into the Libby trial, the basic facts of the case would be clear to the reporters and editors at the Washington Post.

One would be wrong.

Here is an utter howler from their Sunday effort:

Plame’s employment at the CIA was classified, making it illegal for any official to knowingly and intentionally disclose it. Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s 22-month investigation did not produce charges of that offense.

Special Counsel Fitzgerald has asserted that Ms. Plame’s status was classified and we have no cause to doubt him.  However, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act requires more than that - my goodness, was it two years ago that Victoria Toensing and Bruce Sanford addressed these specifics on the very pages of the Washington Post?  Briefly, in addition to having classified status a “covert” agent must have served outside the United States within the previous five years; the US must be taking active steps to conceal the agent’s identity; and the discloser must be aware of the agent’s status.

I used to think that Old Media lived in a bubble universe, but now I realize that it’s much finer grained than that, with small groups or even individuals living in their own bubble universes that don’t even touch those of other journalists.

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