Saturday, July 21, 2007
Half-day in court
So, a federal judge in D.C. has dismissed the lawsuit filed against members of the Bush administration by CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, over the government's public disclosure of her identity as an agent in apparent retaliation for Wilson's public criticism of the campaign leading up to the Iraq war. While the judge, a Bush appointee, acknowledged that Plame might have raised some legitimate questions about the government's conduct, he concluded that the officials who leaked the information to the press were acting in the regular roles as government employees and thus could not be sued. This is the case that got Scooter Libby in trouble, before Bush commuted his sentence, and aroused suspicion about the roles of Vice President Cheney and presidential advisor Karl Rove. Of course, a civil trial like the one filed by Plame and Wilson could have helped answer a lot of the questions everyone still has about the Bush administration's role in outing the agent, which is a federal crime, and in trying to silence its critics across the country. The judge copped out, so to speak, by dismissing the case on jurisdictional grounds and not agreeing to examine the merits of the case. The dismissal would have been a summary adjudication of the issue, possibly with a hearing but certainly without a trial. It seems to me that this is a matter of significant importance, with the possibility of traumatic consequences, and should be heard. Maybe it will. I heard today that Plame and Wilson plan to appeal the dismissal.