IT SEEMS like only yesterday that every high-minded politician, pundit and professional activist was in high dudgeon about the threat posed to national security by the revelation that Valerie Plame was a spook. For daring to reveal a CIA operative's name — in wartime, no less! — they wanted someone frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs, preferably headed for the gallows.
Since then there have been some considerably more serious security breaches. Major media organs have broken news about secret prisons run by the CIA, the interrogation techniques employed therein, and the use of "renditions" to capture suspects, right down to the tail numbers of covert CIA aircraft. They have also reported on a secret National Security Agency program to monitor calls and e-mails from people in the U.S. to suspected terrorists abroad, and about the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity designed to protect military bases worldwide.
Most of these are highly classified programs whose revelation could provide real aid to our enemies — far more aid than revealing the name of a CIA officer who worked more or less openly at Langley, Va. We don't know what damage the latest leaks may have done, but we do know that past leaks about U.S. successes in tracking cellphones led Al Qaeda leaders to shun those devices.
So I eagerly await the righteous indignation from the Plame Platoon about the spilling of secrets in wartime and its impassioned calls for an independent counsel to prosecute the leakers. And wait … And wait …
Ahhh yes. When it comes to matters of real national security, you can always count on the political opportunists to cut and run. Those feckless creatures who live and die by the poll numbers would do well to notice this little fact.
Somehow, I don't think it is a coincidence.