THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW….Tom Davis is the Republican chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. Among other things, this means he’s the point man for congressional investigations of governmental misdeeds.

Here is Tom Davis on his plans to open an investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, which was first exposed by David Corn on July 16, 2003:

July 17, 2003: Nothing.

October 3, 2003: “I know [John] Ashcroft very well, and I’m sure he’ll go by the book.” Um, OK. Nonetheless, he also said he was “gearing up” to lead an investigation of the matter. “It’s our obligation to do so. This is something we can’t tolerate.”

January 23, 2004: “If they don’t find it, we will. It will be looked at and second-guessed. It’s a troubling and serious violation.” But we’ll still wait on gearing up that investigation.

July 21, 2004: Still gearing up. No investigation yet.

Two days ago, on July 19, 2004, AP reported that former NSA Sandy Berger had removed some classified documents from the National Archives and is the subject of an active FBI investigation. How does Davis feel about this?

July 21, 2004: Congress has “a constitutional responsibility to find out what happened and why. At best, we’re looking at tremendously irresponsible handling of highly classified information.” An investigation is underway.

Hey! Tom Davis can move mighty quickly when he puts his mind to it! I wonder what the difference between these two cases is?

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, who has been equally sanguine about the FBI’s ability to investigate the Plame case, is also deeply concerned.