by Scoobie Davis
Moonie Hypocrisy on Rovegate
Another stunning part of the Rove defense has been how quickly right-wing commentators have flip-flopped from their traditional hard-line stance decrying the unauthorized disclosure of national security secrets.Read the whole article
For instance, six months ago, Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times, suggested prosecuting New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh on espionage charges (carrying a possible death penalty) for disclosing secret U.S. military reconnaissance operations inside Iran.
In a Jan. 19, 2005, column entitled “Espionage by any other name,” Blankley argued that Hersh had given sensitive secrets to the enemy by describing U.S. preparations for war with Iran. Blankley cited the precedent of the government using the Espionage Act to convict Navy analyst Samuel Morison for selling photos of a Soviet ship to a Jane’s military publication in the mid-1980s.
Yet Hersh’s article had an obvious importance to a national public debate about whether the Iraq War should be extended to Iran. Hersh’s New Yorker article was alerting the American people to how advanced the war planning already was.
No similar argument could be made about an overriding need for the public to know the identity of Valerie Plame. Yet, the Washington Times – along with other conservative news outlets – decried the Hersh leak while defending the Rove-Novak leak.
There is also irony in the Washington Times making pronouncements about espionage when it has been kept afloat since 1982 with secret financing from Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was unmasked in a 1978 congressional investigation as a covert agent of the South Korean government trying to penetrate U.S. media and politics.
[For more on Moon’s espionage role – and his ties to the Bush family – see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]
But the right-wing campaign to continue denigrating Joe Wilson carries another troubling message: that some Washington conservatives care less about genuine national security than they do about protecting their friends and maintaining their political dominance.