Just a Leak?

JUST A LEAK?….CNN did an hour long piece about the Plame affair last night (you knew I couldn’t stay away for long, didn’t you?), and while it was basically fairly unilluminating, it was Howard Kurtz’s segment that really exposed why it was unilluminating.

Kurtz basically said, hey, it’s just another leak. What’s the big deal?

Judging from all the noise about this CIA leak, you would think that leaks were some kind of a shockingly rare occurrence in Washington.

….Just in recent days, a “New York Times” piece on President Bush meeting Vladimir Putin quoted a senior administration official, “The Washington Post” on Bush’s U.N. speech, a senior administration official, “The Los Angeles Times,” “Newsweek,” “U.S. News,” senior administration officials everywhere you look.

This is a pretty transparent attempt to parrot the administration line that this is nothing more than another beltway tempest in a teapot. Democrats vs. Republicans, charges and countercharges, leaks and more leaks.

It’s not. Background briefings aren’t leaks. And even most genuine leaks aren’t that big a deal. Just someone trying to push their policy agenda into the press.

But this was a deliberate leak that exposed an undercover CIA agent. And far from being common, this has never happened before. Never.

The job of the press is to make that clear, not do just the opposite by burying the story in a bunch of inside baseball spin fresh from the RNC fax machine. Kurtz should be ashamed of himself.