Giving Aid and Comfort to the Enemy: the Plame Affair
Valerie Plame Wilson, whose career Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney wanted destroyed in a fit of pique, was finally allowed to testify before Congress on Friday. Some in the blogosphere are arguing that the outing of Plame Wilson was an impeachable offense.
Defenders of Rove and Cheney say that if they did not know that Valerie Plame Wilson was an undercover operative, then they did not break the law by trying to out her. But first of all, as high officials of the US government, they had a responsibility to excercise prudence in this regard. The “reasonably prudent person” is always invoked in tort trials, why not in national security affairs? Can anyone argue that Rove and Cheney were being prudent in their actions? Shouldn’t they have to be to stay in office?
Moreover, they did know that Plame Wilson was involved in counter-proliferation efforts, including against Iran. By leaking her name with the intent that journalists such as Judy Miller publish it, they were conveying information about a CIA operation to Iran. That is high treason, even if they did not know she was covert. All they had to know is that she was trying to impede Iran’s nuclear program, and that the Iranians did not know that that was what she was doing. You can’t make her public without also letting the Iranians know. Here is what the Constitution says:
Article III, Section 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
It aided and comforted Iran to know that Valerie Plame Wilson and her dummy CIA corporation, Brewster Jennings & Associates, had been engaged in counter-proliferation efforts against it. Bush put Iran in the Axis of Evil, thus declaring it an enemy of the US.
Therefore, Rove and Cheney (and maybe Bush himself) gave aid and comfort to an enemy of these United States by a deliberate act of outing a CIA operative who was not known to Iran and whose cover and activities had not been.
That’s treason. That warrants impeachment.