Saturday, October 22, 2005

One Good Leak Deserves Another: the War Between the CIA and the Bush Administration
FOR FOUR YEARS, A slow-motion war between the CIA and the Bush administration has been unfolding over America's airwaves and on its front pages. A principal weapon in this war has been the deliberate leaking of information to the media.

When the history of this damaging episode is written, two leaks will stand out as having been most consequential. One of them is famous: the alleged leak to columnist Robert Novak that led to the compromising of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

But there was another big leak that no one seems to care about: the leak of the CIA's referral to the Justice Department concerning the Plame matter. That second disclosure, perhaps even more than the initial leak, set off the chain of events that resulted in the naming of a special prosecutor and finds us now anticipating indictments of senior White House officials.

Some additional relevant details: The CIA referral to the Justice Department was classified, an intelligence source tells The Weekly Standard. Anyone who disclosed the existence of the referral and described its contents broke the law. The agency, however, has thus far refused to send a referral to the Justice Department that could result in an investigation into the source and effects of that leak. Why? An intelligence source tells The Weekly Standard that there are limits--of time and manpower--to how many such referrals the CIA can make. Perhaps. But there's another possible explanation: The second leak came from the CIA itself, and lawyers there are reluctant to call for an investigation for fear of what such an investigation would reveal.

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