Within days of the leak of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, Sen. Chuck Schumer was demanding a full-scale investigation into the incident, and others soon followed suit. So where are Sen. Schumer and his fellow Democrats in demanding a similar investigation and prosecution of a far more egregious leak of classified material involving the National Security Agency? Instead of demanding to know who leaked information that could jeopardize both sources and methods for intelligence gathering that will protect American lives, Democrats -- and some Republicans -- are busy accusing the president of wrongdoing. Response to the two leaks reveals a stark double standard.
Prior to the Iraq war, Plame reportedly recommended her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for a CIA mission to Niger to determine whether Saddam Hussein was attempting to buy yellow-cake uranium for developing nuclear weapons. When he returned, Wilson published an article in The New York Times on July 6, 2003, critical of the Bush administration's claims about Saddam's attempts to obtain weapons of mass destruction, an odd thing for a man to do whose wife was ostensibly under cover at the CIA and had played a role in sending him to Africa in the first place. Though no one has been charged with revealing Plame's name, in October a federal prosecutor indicted the vice president's chief of staff for allegedly misleading federal agents during the course of the investigation, which continues to this day with the president's top adviser Karl Rove still under suspicion for his role in the affair. The Plame leak caused massive political damage to the Bush administration, but no one has shown that it resulted in any serious breach of national security, especially since Plame herself was in a desk job at Langley by the time her cover had been blown.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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