How many "senior White House officials" need to be implicated before the Plame leak becomes a conspiracy? Perhaps three?
From JS Online:
The Washington Post reported that at least one senior Bush administration official - who was not identified - told editor Bob Woodward about CIA operative Valerie Plame about a month before her identity was publicly exposed.
The newspaper reported that Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the leak of Plame's identity, that the official talked to him about Plame in mid-June 2003. Woodward and editors at the Post refused to identify the official to reporters other than to say it was not Libby.
So now we have Karl Rove informing Matt Cooper, "Scooter" Libby talking to Judith Miller and a third, currently anonymous leaker that informed Bob Woodward at the Post. The White House clearly has a confidentiality problem, if nothing else, and it's impossible to argue any longer that the Plame leak was some kind of accident.
The Plame case cuts directly against two of the characteristics that conservatives claim draw them to Bush: his integrity and his staunch support of national security. By outing an undercover CIA agent working in nuclear weapons non-proliferation and then working stridently to stonewall the investigation, the Bush Administration has clearly put the lie to either claim. U.S. national security was compromised by the outing of Plame and the growing evidence of a conspiracy to do so and then to cover up is leaving the American people with a much more accurate picture of where Bush really stands. It's political victory at all costs and damn the consequences!
Also, I cannot be the only one getting very tired of listening to various journalists claim some sort of sanctimonious nobility from protecting their "anonymous sources". There is no honor in covering for a political hatchetman, nor is it some noble stance taken to protect the First Amendment. Bob Woodward, of all people, should realize the importance that government whistle-blowers play in our political process and should certainly be able to tell them apart from secretive White House operatives seeking to covertly destroy a political opponent. No "shield law" was ever intended to protect the powerful from the consequences of abusing that power.
Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave!