Brad Plummer is a very intelligent and promising journalist who is given to some fascinating writing, such as the article he wrote today. This one is on Porter Goss’s bristling condemnation of whistleblowers who run to the media to report what they believe to be illegal actions which are classified as state secrets. Wow! Mr. Goss really means business, doesn’t he?
Plummer’s arguments against Goss’s indignation are as sound as you can make them, even if ~ as Mr. Plummer freely admits ~ very few people would agree with his own broader opinion of state secrets.
I would add, though, that the whole premise of indignation against blowing state secrets kind of goes out the window for the Administration at large when they themselves leaked the identity of Valerie Plame. Sure, Scooter is claiming (among other things) that this was a simple slip-up on his own over-worked part, but really, how plausible is that given all the facts of the indictment which show a fairly clear circumstantial path of intent? And of course, those who leaked the NSA wiretapping project revealed what is almost certainly illegal activity on the part of the Administration, whereas the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity can be chalked up to nothing better than political poison.
Beyond that, as Mr. Plummer points out, what constitutes classified information has always been arbitrary, and where this Administration is concerned, downright absurd. In fact, one could argue that such a pattern of secrecy as this Administration has displayed almost certainly creates the conditions for leaks of all kinds. Remember: the TIA (Total Information Awareness) program was initially developed under the Clinton Administration, about half-way through thier tenure, but you never really heard anything about that until after 9/11.
Actuaries forced to keep the Medicare bill’s bills a secret, NASA scientists stiffled from revealing the results of thier studies, the Administration’s refusal to reveal the creators of thier energy policy, and how many other things can you name which are all attempts by this Administration to keep what they’re doing out of the press and away from the public? So yeah, I think that the pattern fits the result.