Friday, 2 January 2004

The never-ending Plame controversy

Patio Pundit Martin Devon links a Michael Kinsley column that cuts to the heart of the Valerie Plame controversy: that if syphilocon columnist Robert Novak stopped protecting his alleged source, the story would be over and we could all go back to our own lives. Money graf:

The purpose of protecting the identity of leakers is to encourage future leaks. Leaks to journalists, and fear of leaks, can be an important restraint on misbehavior by powerful institutions and people. This serves the public interest. But there is no public interest in leaks that harm national security, or leaks that violate the law, or leaks intended to harm blameless individuals. There is no reason to want more of these kinds of leaks. So there is no reason to protect the identity of such bad-faith leakers.

Yes, but that wouldn’t be consistent with Novak’s personal interest in bringing down the faux-conservative apostates running the Bush administration, now would it?

Update: Juan Non-Volokh notes that we know less about what really went on than most pundits think, pointing to an account from today’s WaPo.

Also at Martin’s place: an amusing Slate column on faculty-student relationships by Laura Kipinis.