Priest: "I Don't Buy It" [Stephen Spruiell]
Via JustOneMinute, more bad news for the factually challenged David Shuster. During a WaPo livechat Thursday, a reader asked Dana Priest to comment on Shuster's latest scoop:
Valley Forge, Pa.: Hi Dana,
Thanks for doing these chats.
Now we are reading that Valerie Plame was involved with tracking nuclear proliferation/capabilities in Iran. Isn't this old news? (I seem to remember reading this same thing quite a while ago in the MSM - I don't generally read blogs)
From what you hear, was Ms. Plame working on Iran, how important was she to the tracking efforts, and how much has her "outing" really set us back?
Dana Priest: It was reported before that she worked on proliferation issues for the CIA. The leap in this new round of information is that her outing significantly impacted our current intel on Iran. I don't buy it. First, no one person who quit clandestine work four years ago is going to make that big of a dent in current knowledge. But also, nothing like this came up at the time of her outing and I believe it would have. Think we need some actual details. At present it just doesn't smell right.
Yeah, that's what I thought too. JustOneMinute's Tom Maguire also points out (in an e-mail) that during a similar chat last November (after she published her "CIA secret prisons" story), Priest had this to say:
Columbia, S.C.: Great Work!
How do you answer critics who point out this may be a 'leak' that could potentially compromise national security, ala the Plame leak?
Dana Priest: I don't actually think the Plame leak compromised national security, from what I've been able to learn about her position. As for my article, we tried to minimize that by not naming the countries involved and, otherwise, no, I don't believe it compromised national security at all.
While not conclusive, someone with CIA sources like Priest's certainly ought to know (and would want to break the story) if Plame's "outing" really caused damage. Also important is the news from the Libby case that Byron York reported yesterday:
In the hearing, prosecutor Fitzgerald suggested that he would offer the Libby defense team some proof that Valerie Plame Wilson's status at the CIA was classified. But as he had said earlier, Fitzgerald again said, "We will not offer any proof of actual damages" caused by the revelation of Plame's identity, although Fitzgerald said "the issue of potential damage will come up several times" in the trial.
So much for Shuster's scandal hype.
05/06 07:20 AMShare