Thursday, July 13, 2006

Leak only secrets sayeth journo deans

Byron York is National Review's White House reporter. He's not usually an opinion columnist; instead he writes magazine-article style investigative reports about White House operations, liberal interest groups, Congressional actions, etc.

Today, however, he rips into the deans of some of the top journalism schools in the US. Why? Because they agreed that the NYTimes should have published the SWIFT program (terrorist finance tracing) and NSA international telephone call surveillance stories, even though those stories have hamstrung the US intelligence-gathering efforts that are necessary to prevent another 9-11 type of attack. But those same journalism deans blast Bob Novak for his throwaway statement in a column that did not discuss her that identified Valerie Plame as Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife.

As York notes:

They appear to believe that the Plame disclosure did more damage than the others — even though Patrick Fitzgerald, the CIA leak prosecutor, has said that in the upcoming perjury trial of Lewis Libby, he, Fitzgerald, does not plan to offer “any proof of actual damages” done by the Plame leak.

Maybe there was some harm; we just don’t know. But there seems no doubt that the terrorist-financing, NSA surveillance and CIA prisons stories did substantial damage to American national security.

The deans are ridiculous. The Plame revelation is a nullity -- she was not a covert operative and had not been for more than half a decade. The harm from the NSA, CIA prisons and SWIFT operations stories is clear from the revelation itself. The press should not wonder why it is more lowly regarded than the President, the Congress and even most lawyers.

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