The Democrats have made leaks a powerful weapon in their attempts to destroy the Bush Administration. Together with their allies in the national Press corps, the Democrats have leaked information regarding US covert operations that have certainly put many agents at risk. As long as the leaks seem to put the Bush Administration in a disfavorable position, the Democrats are all ready to protect those law-breakers. However, they have condemned leaks that put themselves or their Press corps allies in an unfavorable light. However, since the firing of a CIA agent for leaking covert operation details to the New York Times, they are now protesting that they also do not condone leaking classified information.
The Valerie Plame case versus the recent firing of Mary McCarthy is a perfect example. As reported by the Washington Post newspaper, Democrats responded to the recent firing of a senior CIA officer, Mary McCarthy by claiming that there is a "double standard" in the way the leaks are handled. According to Rep. Jane Harmon, (D-CA), "...while leaks are wrong, I think it is totally wrong for our president in secret to selectively declassify certain information and empower people in his White House to leak it to favored reporters so that they can discredit political enemies."
Well, yes, Jane, there is a double standard. But not the way you think. If you had learned anything in your hippie school-days other than pot-smoking, you would know that the President has the authority to automatically declassify any information he wishes. In the Plame case, we have an open CIA agent who managed to convince her employer to send her husband on an all-expenses-paid junket which was neither approved nor requested by the White House. Said husband came back and lied about what he found and why he was sent. The President properly used his Constitutional authority to declassify information to disseminate the truth, which did discredit the husband, Joe Wilson, who was proven later by the Senate to be a liar. Nothing illegal about that. On the other hand, Mary McCarthy did NOT have the authority to declassify information.
And one other thing, Ms. Harmon. No one was endangered by the Plame situation. She was known to be a CIA employee, and was not actively under cover. On the other hand, McCarthy's disclosures, if that is what she was fired for, may have cost good men and women their lives. If we want to win this war, covert operations are going to be an integral part of the formula for victory. Getting the covert ops people endangered, or killed just because you don't like the President is pretty close to treason. Hopefully, Ms McCarthy will serve a good long prison term together with her firing. Seems like a pretty big difference to me. But of course, I actually studiedwhen I was in school. Something Ms. Harmon apparently did not, judging by her fatuous and ignorant remarks.