Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pence's Hypocrisy On Media Shield Law

Rep. Mike Pence, along with Sen. Richard Lugar, is a leading advocate of a media shield law, which would allow journalists to conceal their sources during legal proceedings by treating conversations with their sources as privileged communications. Pence told the Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, that the trial of Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, would improve chances for passage of the proposed legislation.

“After the Libby case gets done, where four of the most famous journalists in America could be put in the dock and cross-examined, the public may be interested in clarifying the law,” Pence said. In his typical kiss up to the media style, Pence added, “People know the media are on their side and will find it deeply offensive, and I am reasonably confident we could bring a responsible media shield forward.”

But what about House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s recent demand that the House and Senate Intelligence Committees investigate the leaking of the CIA’s black site prisons to the Washington Post? Oh, well that’s different Pence tells The Hill. Compelling Washington Post reporter Dana Priest to reveal her source would be entirely appropriate because that leak Pence tells us involved “real time” classified information that posed an “imminent threat.” Pence continued, “My view turns entirely on [whether] the information that was leaked constituted a breach of national security and compromised our national security. That’s precisely the kind of leak that our federal media shield would not protect.”

Apparently disclosing Valerie Plame’s identity in Pence’s view in no way constituted a breach of national security or compromised our national security. The public doesn’t really know since her work at the CIA is classified, and Rep. Pence probably hasn’t had access to intelligence concerning her work either to make that conclusion. Nonetheless, as a former covered and currently classified CIA agent, would Ms. Plame not have reason to fear an “imminent threat” to her own well-being Rep. Pence? Or is it more important to protect the partisan gun-slingers in the White House who recklessly placed her life in danger than it is to discourage future disclosures that could place our intelligence officers lives in danger?

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