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Monday, October 17, 2005

You Don't Have To Say A Secret's Secret to Reveal the Secret

The Millerthon has been most interesting to peruse, and maybe I'll have some stuff of my own to say about it.

That said, it's worth looking at this short post by Mark Kleiman (there are many others, all worth reading, about IraqRoveWarLiesPlameDeathGate, or whatever we've called it here at CCM, at Kleiman's site). He points out Cliff May's....unconvincing....personal bottom line:

The bottom line, as I see it: Judy Miller testified that Scooter Libby “did not refer to Plame by name or mention her covert status.” (I’m quoting from Howie Kurtz’ piece in the Wash Post).

Indeed, Miller says in her piece that based on her conversation with Libby she assumed Plame “worked as an analyst not an undercover operative.”

Well, that would mean Libby did not expose a covert intelligence agent, the crime charged by Wilson and his supporters.

It is hard to understate the idiocy of May's contention here. The part about the name Plame (or Wilson) is quite irrelevant, as I pointed out way back when. The part about mentioning her covert status is also quite a non-sequitur, a point that Kleiman makes with some vim:

If I know a secret about someone, and tell that secret to someone else, I've revealed that secret, even if I don't mention that it was supposed to be a secret in the first place.

Let's say, for example, that John is married to Jane but is secretly sleeping with Judy. If I say "John is sleeping with Judy," it's not a secret anymore. Whether I say "John is secretly sleeping with Judy" couldn't matter less. It wasn't the secrecy that was a secret, it was the sex.

Similarly, if Valerie Plame Wilson is an undercover CIA officer and someone publishes the fact that she works for the CIA, she's been burned, whether the publication mentions her undercover status or not. There's no second secret fact that she was undercover; her being undercover meant, precisely, that no one was supposed to know she worked for the CIA.

By the way, lest you think that idiocy on these matters is somehow a requirement to write for The Corner, evidently that thought is incorrect, as Andy McCarthy, who evidently is capable of both literacy and logical thought, demonstrates.


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