Heraclitus said it first

The Greek historian Heraclitus observed, "A man's character is his fate." I've always found that to be true. I'd go further though. I think it is as applicable to institutions as it is to individuals.

If I'm right, the end result of the Wilson/Plame hoax — described by Christopher Hitchens Hitchens as "the non—commission of non—crimes and the non—outing of a non—covert CIA bureaucrat" — will be how it has exposed this fact: Our major media have been so hopelessly corrupted by partisanship that, either willingly or through credulousness, they have become little more than an agent of the Democratic Party, utterly unworthy of our trust and damaging to our real national security needs.

And if you think that's strong, the Wen Ho Lee case will resolve any possible lingering doubts that that is the case.

Let's review the facts of that case before proceeding further. In 1999 and 2000 attention was focused on the sloppy — really non—existent it seems — security procedures in effect at the nuclear research facilities at Los Alamos in New Mexico. Los Alamos was overseen by the Department of Energy Secretary,. Hazel O'Leary , a Clinton appointee. 

Five reporters, Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, H. Joseph Herbert then of The Associated Press, James Risen of The New York Times, Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times, and Pierre Thomas, then of CNN, reported that a scientist involved in that work, Wen Ho Lee, was suspected of stealing nuclear secrets on China's behalf . Lee was charged with 59 serious  criminal counts and placed in solitary confinement for nine months. In time, all but one of the charges against Lee were dropped. Lee was never charged with espionage and pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling nuclear weapons information. 

Subsequently, Lee initiated a civil suit against the FBI and Department of Energy under the privacy act, charging that government officials had unlawfully leaked information about the investigation to reporters.

In the course of discovery in that matter, Lee served subpoenas on reporters who had printed stories which carried the leaked information.Four of the reporters (all but Pincus) sought relief from the discovery subpoeans in federal District Court under the First Amendment. Judge Thomas Penfield rejected the request for relief and held tham all in contempt of court. In June a three—judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the reporters' appeal . They then sought review by a full Court which on November  4 (with two judges having recused themselves) refused by a 4—4 tie to rehear the case and affirmed the contempt orders against the four reporters. 

In August. the Washington Post sought relief from the federal District Court asking that the Court recognize a common—law privilege to shield Pincus' sources from discovery.Yesterday

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said that "in order to avoid a repetition of the Judith Miller imbroglio," Pincus must contact his sources to inform them of the court's order in case they wish to release him from his pledge of confidentiality.

And it is certain that in the trial of this case we will learn whether Governor Richardson and other  Clinton  appointed officials tried to play pin the tail on the Chinese nuclear scientist to divert attention from their own inattention to national security at a vital American facility. Or,even  worse, as some have suggested, to muddy the search for how the Chinese obtained this vital information. Richardson and others have been identified in court papers as the likely sources of the leaks against Dr. Lee. In sworn testimony Richardson has denied he was a media source for the reports about Dr. Lee.

In the process of that case  we will learn if the reporters were as apparently  careless or gullible as they were when they broadcast Wilson's patent lies and  as mendacious as they were when they refused to correct the record when it was clear he had been lied to them or they had, as Wilson said "misreported" his statements.

By now, we know the principal reporters in the Wilson/Plame  gambit  were engaged, if not at the outset, then from the issuance of the bipartisan Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) report, in a partisan stunt. For there is simply no explanation for not clarifying the record from that point. And surely Pincus (if not Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times, for example), knew full well the process by which the National Intelligence Estimate is prepared and that the White House is bound to adhere to this, the collective wisdom of the nation's security agencies.

Joe Blow may think the President could pull the wool over the eyes of Congress by making up claims not in there. If you're reading this, you're smart enough to know that's bunkum. Fine for the fever swamp denizens. Preposterous to the grown ups.If there were errors in the NIE, they came from further down, and as the Silberman/Robb Commission observed those errors were not the result of any manipulation of the NIE, an assessment which was shared it seems by every intelligence service with which the U.S.maintains good links.

Why do I think the Wen Ho Lee case will only add to the exposure of the press' duplicity? I've been watching their shennanigans and anticipating how Libby's lawyers will reveal the incestuous interrelations between the reporters and the Democrats. I believe we will see the same kind of discreditable behavior in the Lee case as we have (and I believe we will continue to see) in the Wilson one.

Dow Jones has brought suit requesting the federal district court unseal the eight pages of information filed in the Judith Miller case to justify compelling her to testify in the Wilson probe.Here's what the Opinion Journal said of the outcome of the press games in the Wilson case, and I do not see why it isn't going to be equally applicable in the Lee case:

Apart from Scooter Libby, the biggest loser by far in the Patrick Fitzgerald probe has been the press. The "leak" investigation that every liberal editorial board demanded has already sent one reporter to jail, and the damage is only going to get worse.

Thanks to the disastrous New York Times legal strategy, the D.C. Circuit of Appeals dealt a major blow to a reporter's ability to protect his sources. Prosecutors everywhere will now be more inclined to call reporters to testify, under threat of prison time. And if Mr. Libby's case goes to trial, at least three reporters will be called as witnesses for the prosecution. Just wait until defense counsel starts examining their memories and reporting habits, not to mention the dominant political leanings in the newsrooms of NBC, Time magazine and the New York Times....

Clarice Feldman is a lawyer in Washington, DC.

The Greek historian Heraclitus observed, "A man's character is his fate." I've always found that to be true. I'd go further though. I think it is as applicable to institutions as it is to individuals.

If I'm right, the end result of the Wilson/Plame hoax — described by Christopher Hitchens Hitchens as "the non—commission of non—crimes and the non—outing of a non—covert CIA bureaucrat" — will be how it has exposed this fact: Our major media have been so hopelessly corrupted by partisanship that, either willingly or through credulousness, they have become little more than an agent of the Democratic Party, utterly unworthy of our trust and damaging to our real national security needs.

And if you think that's strong, the Wen Ho Lee case will resolve any possible lingering doubts that that is the case.

Let's review the facts of that case before proceeding further. In 1999 and 2000 attention was focused on the sloppy — really non—existent it seems — security procedures in effect at the nuclear research facilities at Los Alamos in New Mexico. Los Alamos was overseen by the Department of Energy Secretary,. Hazel O'Leary , a Clinton appointee. 

Five reporters, Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, H. Joseph Herbert then of The Associated Press, James Risen of The New York Times, Robert Drogin of the Los Angeles Times, and Pierre Thomas, then of CNN, reported that a scientist involved in that work, Wen Ho Lee, was suspected of stealing nuclear secrets on China's behalf . Lee was charged with 59 serious  criminal counts and placed in solitary confinement for nine months. In time, all but one of the charges against Lee were dropped. Lee was never charged with espionage and pleaded guilty to one count of mishandling nuclear weapons information. 

Subsequently, Lee initiated a civil suit against the FBI and Department of Energy under the privacy act, charging that government officials had unlawfully leaked information about the investigation to reporters.

In the course of discovery in that matter, Lee served subpoenas on reporters who had printed stories which carried the leaked information.Four of the reporters (all but Pincus) sought relief from the discovery subpoeans in federal District Court under the First Amendment. Judge Thomas Penfield rejected the request for relief and held tham all in contempt of court. In June a three—judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the reporters' appeal . They then sought review by a full Court which on November  4 (with two judges having recused themselves) refused by a 4—4 tie to rehear the case and affirmed the contempt orders against the four reporters. 

In August. the Washington Post sought relief from the federal District Court asking that the Court recognize a common—law privilege to shield Pincus' sources from discovery.Yesterday

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said that "in order to avoid a repetition of the Judith Miller imbroglio," Pincus must contact his sources to inform them of the court's order in case they wish to release him from his pledge of confidentiality.

And it is certain that in the trial of this case we will learn whether Governor Richardson and other  Clinton  appointed officials tried to play pin the tail on the Chinese nuclear scientist to divert attention from their own inattention to national security at a vital American facility. Or,even  worse, as some have suggested, to muddy the search for how the Chinese obtained this vital information. Richardson and others have been identified in court papers as the likely sources of the leaks against Dr. Lee. In sworn testimony Richardson has denied he was a media source for the reports about Dr. Lee.

In the process of that case  we will learn if the reporters were as apparently  careless or gullible as they were when they broadcast Wilson's patent lies and  as mendacious as they were when they refused to correct the record when it was clear he had been lied to them or they had, as Wilson said "misreported" his statements.

By now, we know the principal reporters in the Wilson/Plame  gambit  were engaged, if not at the outset, then from the issuance of the bipartisan Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSCI) report, in a partisan stunt. For there is simply no explanation for not clarifying the record from that point. And surely Pincus (if not Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times, for example), knew full well the process by which the National Intelligence Estimate is prepared and that the White House is bound to adhere to this, the collective wisdom of the nation's security agencies.

Joe Blow may think the President could pull the wool over the eyes of Congress by making up claims not in there. If you're reading this, you're smart enough to know that's bunkum. Fine for the fever swamp denizens. Preposterous to the grown ups.If there were errors in the NIE, they came from further down, and as the Silberman/Robb Commission observed those errors were not the result of any manipulation of the NIE, an assessment which was shared it seems by every intelligence service with which the U.S.maintains good links.

Why do I think the Wen Ho Lee case will only add to the exposure of the press' duplicity? I've been watching their shennanigans and anticipating how Libby's lawyers will reveal the incestuous interrelations between the reporters and the Democrats. I believe we will see the same kind of discreditable behavior in the Lee case as we have (and I believe we will continue to see) in the Wilson one.

Dow Jones has brought suit requesting the federal district court unseal the eight pages of information filed in the Judith Miller case to justify compelling her to testify in the Wilson probe.Here's what the Opinion Journal said of the outcome of the press games in the Wilson case, and I do not see why it isn't going to be equally applicable in the Lee case:

Apart from Scooter Libby, the biggest loser by far in the Patrick Fitzgerald probe has been the press. The "leak" investigation that every liberal editorial board demanded has already sent one reporter to jail, and the damage is only going to get worse.

Thanks to the disastrous New York Times legal strategy, the D.C. Circuit of Appeals dealt a major blow to a reporter's ability to protect his sources. Prosecutors everywhere will now be more inclined to call reporters to testify, under threat of prison time. And if Mr. Libby's case goes to trial, at least three reporters will be called as witnesses for the prosecution. Just wait until defense counsel starts examining their memories and reporting habits, not to mention the dominant political leanings in the newsrooms of NBC, Time magazine and the New York Times....

Clarice Feldman is a lawyer in Washington, DC.