Monday, October 31, 2005

The Republicans who drafted and proposed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in the early days of the Reagan administration, in a vain attempt to end the career of CIA defector Philip Agee, could not have known that their hasty legislation would one day paralyze the workings of a conservative wartime administration. Nor could the eager internationalist Wilsonians who rammed through the 1917 Espionage Act--the most repressive legislation since the Alien and Sedition laws--have expected it to be used against government officials making the case for an overseas military intervention.

But then, who would have thought that liberals and civil libertarians--the New York Times called for the repeal of the IIPA as soon as it was passed, or else for it to be struck down by the courts--would find these same catch-all statutes coming in handy for the embarrassment of Team Bush? The outrage of the left at any infringement of CIA prerogatives is only the least of the ironies in the indictment of Lewis Libby for discussing matters the disclosure of which, in and of itself, appears to have violated no known law.
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