The Washington Post’s editorial board takes a shot at Joe Wilson, one of their anonymous sources three years ago, as the full impact of the discovery of Richard Armitage as the Valerie Plame leaker takes effect. The editors place the blame for Plame’s unmasking where it always belonged — on Wilson himself:
[I]t now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame’s CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming — falsely, as it turned out — that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush’s closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It’s unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
It’s more than unfortunate — it was deliberate. Wilson and Plame set up this trip for the purpose of discrediting the elected officials of the American government in an attempt to keep them from exercising their policies on intelligence and foreign affairs. Wilson lied and deceived people, first by leaking his disinformation anonymously to the Post and the New York Times, and then in an editorial that relied on his diplomatic reputation to bolster the credibility of his false accusations.
This set off a political witch hunt the likes of which should embarrass the media and Democrats for years, but probably won’t. They demanded an investigation into the leak, especially the editorial board of the New York Times, then wailed as the prosecutor started jailing reporters for non-cooperation. The whole time the media and the mainstream Democratic leadership — including their presidential nominee John Kerry, who made Wilson a part of his campaign — insisted that Wilson spoke truth to power, even while Kerry’s own Senate intelligence panel reached a very different conclusion.
Now the Left and the media want to continue talking about Scooter Libby rather than the three-year travesty they have foisted on this nation during a time of war. At least the Washington Post knows when to stop.