Trace it to the Bushies | VailDaily.com
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Trace it to the Bushies

It is ironic that on the same day New York Times reporter Judith Miller was sent to jail for contempt of court for not revealing her confidential source in the Valerie Plame affair, L. Patrick Gray died.Gray was one head of the FBI during the Nixon administration. His No. 2 man was Mark Felt who recently outed himself as Deep Throat.” Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with the help of their anonymous source uncovered Watergate, the scandal that eventually toppled President Nixon.Imagine the course of history had “Woodstein” been called upon to name Felt or go to jail. Nixon would have served out his term. One shudders at the thought of what other schemes the CREEPs and Plumbers could have committed, not to mention the course of Vietnam.We don’t pretend to be special people in the Fourth Estate. We are not above the law. We are not a privileged class. We do from time to time serve as an unofficial roadblock in our government’s system of checks and balances.The press has the ability to sometimes shed light when companies, crime or government run amok.The latter situation is what we have with Miller and Plame. A retired career diplomat, Joseph Wilson looked into Iraq’s nuclear capability at the behest of the CIA. After his investigation, he wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times, criticizing the Bush administration’s faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. Then, in a remarkable coincidence, conservative columnist Robert Novak outed Wilson’s wife, Plame, as an undercover CIA agent. You don’t need to be Oliver Stone to put two and two together.(Now, for those in the audience who are screaming, “Media liberal elite,” I’m a registered Republican.)It is hardly a large leap to say that the Bush administration leaked Plame’s name to Novak, an ardent supporter of the administration, to smear Wilson, a person questioning Bush’s policy.Two themes of the Bush administration lend credence to this theory. Those who disagree with the Bush administration often find themselves in a rather negative spotlight. People’s evidence A, B and C are Colin Powell, John Kerry and the Swift Boat brigade, and Richard Clarke.The other hallmark of the current administration is its ability to stay on message. “We continue to win the war against terror.” “We are making progress in the democratization of Iraq.” “The economy continues to expand,” and so on.The key to this media strategy is that the administration is so tight. There are NO leaks. So how could we have a leak like this from such a disciplined administration? And how could it have been possibly ever been reported by Novak who a) is an administration ally and b) you might notice isn’t coming anywhere close to jail for exposing Plame.This has the Bush administration’s fingerprints all over it. W., Uncle Dick, Condi and Rummy have a particular distaste for The New York Times and they’re bringing the full weight of the government on The Gray Lady to make the point. The Bush administration isn’t the only culprit in this sad affair. Time magazine should hang its collective head in shame for pulling the rug out from underneath Matthew Cooper, the other subject of this grand jury investigation.Time caved like a folding chair after the Supreme Court refused to hear Cooper and Miller’s case. As a reporter, I would have a hard time trusting a company that doesn’t back its reporters on a critical First Amendment issue.But here we are with Miller in the pokey, Novak making his regular appearances on CNN and the Bush administration rolls onward without regard to constitutional liberties.In Gray’s obituary in Thursday’s New York Times, he said that working for the Nixon administration was “the gravest mistake in my 88 years.”I think he’s rolling over in his grave now.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, colorado


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