David Broder Calls CIA Leak Probe A 'Sideshow'

By: E&P Staff Apparently unimpressed by the seriousness of leaking the name of a covert CIA operative, David Broder in his Sunday syndicated column sides with those who have mocked the Plame/Libby probe as an abomination.

"Despite the absence of any underlying crime," Broder writes, federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald filed charges against Scooter Libby for denying to the FBI and the grand jury that he had discussed the Plame case with reporters. "Libby was convicted on the testimony of reporters from NBC, the New York Times and Time magazine -- a further provocation to conservatives," Broder adds.

"I think they have a point. This whole controversy is a sideshow -- engineered partly by the publicity-seeking former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife and heightened by the hunger in parts of Washington to 'get' Rove for something or other.

"Like other special prosecutors before him, Fitzgerald got caught up in the excitement of the case and pursued Libby relentlessly, well beyond the time that was reasonable."

But Broder agrees that "Libby let his loyalty to his boss and to the administration cloud his judgment -- and perhaps his memory -- in denying that he was part of the effort to discredit the Wilson pair. Lying to a grand jury is serious business, especially when it is done by a person occupying a high government position where the public trust is at stake."

Meawhile, in the same edition of the Post, reporter Carol Leonnig dispels several "myths" about the Plame case including "Valerie Plame wasn't a covert operative" and "Libby didn't leak Plame's identity."


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