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Seriously?

The Washington Post reports that a Democratic House leadership would likely name Rep. Alcee Hastings the head of the House Intelligence Committee, and that the Congressional Black Caucus is insisting on this, given that Rep. Hastings is first in line because of seniority; Michael Barone reports that "Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is said to be determined to [name] Alcee Hastings" to the spot.

In 1989 the Senate removed then-federal judge Hastings, convicting him of conspiracy to take a bribe and perjury; the Senate vote was 69-25, and on one of the counts the vote was 34-21 even among Democratic senators alone. Hastings had been acquitted at his criminal trial some years before, which is to say that he wasn't proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. But shouldn't the standard for deciding who'll be head of the Intelligence Committee be more than just seniority plus he hasn't been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer.

UPDATE: Whoops — I inadvertently dropped the "likely" in "would likely name" when I first posted this post; sorry about that, and thanks to the commenters for alerting me to this. The "likely" is my interpretation of the Postarticle, which reports that Harman, the other leading candidate, seems to be almost sure to be off the committee, that skipping over Hastings would be "problematic," and that "skipping over Hastings might cause a real rupture with the Congressional Black Caucus, Pelosi aides fear," though the article also says that conservative Democrats are opposed to Jefferson, and that a compromise candidate has been suggested. Barone, on the other hand, reports that it's said to be certain; and while he's conservative and might have a jaundiced view as a result, he also knows a very great deal about current politics, so I'm inclined to credit his reporting on this.

Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Once had a motion in front of him -- he was a pretty polite judge.

His impeachment was an interesting illustration of how the size of the federal government has gotten out of hand. Bottom line is that the Senate is too busy (or feels it is) to take impeachment seriously. They essentially had him tried by a committee of a dozen members, and then the entire Senate voted on whether to approve their findings, and did so by the required margin. While the committee proceedings were videotaped, only another dozen senators bothered to get copies -- whether they reviewed them cannot be known.

As I recall, a district court overturned the decision, and the Supremes reversed that (I suspect on justiciability issues).
10.21.2006 7:22pm
Falconetti (mail):
What do you suggest instead, hold a new (show) trial just for this purpose? It is a dilemma, but it seems the only solutions are to treat him as if her were guilty or treat him as if he were innocent. I would prefer the latter.
10.21.2006 7:35pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
The article doesn't say that at all.

It says their is pressure on Pelosi from the CBC to appoint Hastings. The article makes it clear that she has not said she would do so and is clearly looking at other alternatives.

It seems negligently misleading to post this story as if a House Democratic leadership is committed to naming Hastings to this post.
10.21.2006 7:53pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I agree that the second article does indeed say Pelosi is so determined but this seems to be in conflict with what is said in the washington post article. Perhaps 'negligantly' was a bit strong (alright it certainly was) but I still think it is misleading to post this pair of articles as if they both support this claim.
10.21.2006 7:56pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Dave, the Supreme Court actually heard Walter Nixon's appeal -- but the issue was the same, and U.S. v. Nixon settled Hastings' case as well. (Nixon, incidentally, had been convicted in court, unlike Hastings, which meant it took considerable chutzpah for him to appeal.) And yes, it was on justiciability.

It's not clear why this means that they "didn't take it seriously." Isn't most legislation handled the same way? Committees do the work and then report to the full Senate.

Here's how it was described in Rehnquist's opinion in Nixon:
After the House presented the articles to the Senate, the Senate voted to invoke its own Impeachment Rule XI, under which the presiding officer appoints a committee of Senators to "receive evidence and take testimony." Senate Impeachment Rule XI, reprinted in Senate Manual, S. Doc. No. 101-1, 101st Cong., 1st Sess., 186 (1989). [n.1] The Senate committee held four days of hearings, during which 10 witnesses, including Nixon, testified. S. Rep. No. 101-164, p. 4 (1989). Pursuant to Rule XI, the committee presented the full Senate with a completetranscript of the proceeding and a report stating the uncontested facts and summarizing the evidence on the contested facts. See id., at 3-4. Nixon and the House impeachment managers submitted extensive final briefs to the full Senate and delivered arguments from the Senate floor during the three hours set aside for oral argument in front of that body. Nixon himself gave a personal appeal, and several Senators posed questions directly to both parties. 135 Cong. Rec. S14493-14517 (Nov. 1, 1989). The Senate voted by more than the constitutionally required two thirds majority to convict Nixon on the first two articles. Id., at S14635 (Nov. 3, 1989). The presiding officer then entered judgment removing Nixon from his office as United States District Judge.
I don't see what's wrong with that.


Falconetti: first, they did hold a trial. That's what the impeachment was. Second, you seem to be operating under the mistaken impression that a committee chairmanship is an entitlement. They can treat him as if he's not sufficiently qualified for the job by virtue of the behavior, criminal or not, which led to his impeachment.
10.21.2006 8:48pm
elChato (mail):
What's the big deal? Rep. Hastings has finally found his calling. His prior experiences seem to make him eminently qualified for a Congressional leadership post.
10.21.2006 8:54pm
Bored Lawyer:
For that matter, the Supreme Court, whenever its original jurisdiction is invoked (principally interstate border disputes) will usually appoint a special master to take evidence, and then they review the report. Not a dissimilar procedure.
10.21.2006 9:23pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Dave, the Supreme Court actually heard Walter Nixon's appeal -- but the issue was the same, and U.S. v. Nixon settled Hastings' case as well. (Nixon, incidentally, had been convicted in court, unlike Hastings, which meant it took considerable chutzpah for him to appeal.) And yes, it was on justiciability.

It's not clear why this means that they "didn't take it seriously." Isn't most legislation handled the same way? Committees do the work and then report to the full Senate.


I'd be the last to say that congress takes legislation seriously, either! The manner of proceeding just leaves a distaste. They're supposed to hold a trial. Instead 12 Senators hear the evidence. 12 more *may* have bothered to listen to it. Most of them, 76 members, neither hear nor review the evidence, yet rule on guilt. I suspect we'd be aghast at the idea of the jury where three members actually attend the trial or look at videotapes, report back, and the remainder vote on whether to accept their report and convict.

My further note is that this illustrates how unwieldy the modern national government has become. The original arrangement was, I'd assume, set up to deal with problems of a president, VP, and maybe 20-40 federal judges. And a Senate that actually had the time to try a case. With a civilian government with around million employees, and probably thousands of judges, and a busy Senate, it's a far less personal situation than it was back then.
10.21.2006 9:37pm
Beerslurpy (mail) (www):
I think a major problem with the lawmaking process today is that there is way too much delegation of fact finding and legal research to parties that are far from impartial. My impression is that legislators are functioning more like a dynamo- slightly obstructing the rate at which legislation gets made in order to extract contributions; but absent any sincere focus on the content of what is passed. How many bills end up with contents that arent discovered until months or years later?

Look at copyright law- rather than being a balanced evaluation of the effect of proposed changes (presumably taking into account the other 99 percent of the public), it ends up being a negotiating session between large ISPs, consumer electronics manufacturers and copyright holders.

In the end the legislature becomes a clearinghouse for transferring property rights from one portion of society to another. They didnt take a few billion taxpayer dollars out of the federal budget and give it to Disney, but extending copyright another 25 years had the same overall effect.

A problem is that voters barely understand economics or property rights and thus are incapable of understanding that they are constantly under attack in a thousand subtle ways. There is also far too little voter interest in the structure or functioning of the federal government. Most people grasp susbstantive issues relatively easily (murder is a crime, self defense is not, etc) but understanding concepts like enumerated powers is beyond most people. Most people dont even know we have 3 branches of government or what common law is.

I dont even know where to start in fixing the problem.
10.21.2006 10:06pm
Richard Riley (mail):
I have to second logicnazi here. I think both Prof Volokh and Instapundit exaggerate the likelihood of Hastings becoming chair of the intelligence committee. The Washington Post article is about Pelosi's balancing act between the CBC and the Blue Dogs, not about how the CBC would necessarily get everything it wants in a Democratic House as Eugene implies. In fact, if anything, the article strongly implies that there ARE some settled decisions (Rangel at Ways and Means, Conyers at Judiciary, Bennie Thompson at Homeland Security), and that Hastings at Intelligence is NOT one of the settled decisions. Prof Volokh, aren't you the one who warns us against too quick a resort to the slippery slope argument - and isn't that just what you're doing (Democratic House is so horrible it would inexorably lead to Hastings at Intelligence)?
10.21.2006 10:18pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Two can play this game. Hoekstra currently holds that position so I don't think its really that important. That's the Hoekstra who seems pretty damn insane. This is the guy who is sure Iraq had WMD. Also accused intelligence officals of working with Al-Qeada. He also went around making claims abotu Able Danger which most recently "have been discredited by the Defense Department's inspector general.*" and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Now Prof Volokh might say this post in not relevant, but I am fairly certain most people can read the subtext of the instapundit point. Trying to scare people away from voting Democrat by bringing up reasons to avoid a democratic majority. So when you ask Seriously? To be fair you should look at the current head of the House Intelligence Committee and ask "seriously?" of him as well.


* http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/us/22able.html
10.21.2006 10:24pm
Maniakes (mail):
Bear in mind that impeachment is not a routine procedure. In the entire history of the US, only 17 people have been impeached by the federal government. Of these, 1 was dismissed on juristictional grounds, 7 were acquitted, 2 resigned before the Senate voted, and only 7 were convicted.

(source)
10.21.2006 11:11pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Given his history, it would be pretty near impossible for Hastings to get the required clearance for Intel Committee material in any way except by being a member of the committee. That alone ought to be enough to disqualify him.
10.21.2006 11:16pm
Truth Seeker:
* http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/us/22able.html

Anything published in the NY Times is likely to be biased against the president, the military, the country and the Republican party and slanted toward the position of the Democratic party. Don't try to use it in any purportedly balanced discussion.
10.21.2006 11:25pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I am not familiar with the evidence against Hastings that led to his impeachment as a judge. I suppose Hastings' impeachment and removal from office as a federal judge might trouble me more if impeachment wasn't so blantantly a political act. However, given that the Democrats controlled Congress then, I do have to wonder about what he did, as a Democratic appointee, to cause Congress to impeach and remove him from office.

I did see a criminal trial of a federal judge (Robert Aguilar) and it caused me some concern about his actions, but interestingly enough, he was not accused of being personally corrupt, just trying to use his influence to help some relatives.

As far as perjury goes, I think a fair case could be made (1) that our late Chief Justice may have committed perjury during his confirmation hearings over whether he harrassed black voters during either the 1960 or 1964 presidential election; (2) that Clarence Thomas' testimony concerning the Anita Hill matter was perjury; and (3)of course, Clinton's testimony during the Paula Jones case and before the Independent Counsel's grand jury was perjury (especially, the grand jury testimony). But, they each overcame these instances.
10.22.2006 12:32am
llamasex (mail) (www):
Truth Seeker its sad how far the sliming of the New York Times has twisted people like you. The Times isn't perfect, but its not biased against the president and the reporting in it can be trusted. That people are treating it as the Democratic Underground or Newsmax is just a bad sign for our country.
10.22.2006 12:51am
Truth Seeker:
That people are treating it as the Democratic Underground or Newsmax is just a bad sign for our country.

No, not a bad sign for the country, just for the Times. The country has lots of more trustworthy news outlets. The Times' earnings and stock price are plummeting.

It is the Times that is doing the sliming, the others are just pointing it out. And how great it is that today the Internet allows them almost as loud a voice as the once monopolist MSM.

The really sad thing is that the current regime at the Times thinks political propaganda is more important than news reporting. Sad, sad, sad.
10.22.2006 1:30am
Syd (mail):
I have no problem with Hastings being chair of the Intelligence Committee, but I think putting him on the Judiciary Committee would not be a good idea.
10.22.2006 1:38am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Syd, I disagree. Who better to understand perjury than one who may have committed it? I thought it was fitting that Rehnquist should preside over Clinton's perjury impeachment proceedings.

I should correct my remarks about Rehnquist: he supposedly harrassed black voters during a 1962 election, and may have lied about his role in such activities, and some scholars and commentators think he lied about whether a memo he authored while Justice Jackson's law clerk in which the memo supported upholding Plessy v. Ferguson reflected Justice Jackson's views (as Rehnquist said) or Rehnquist's views as a law clerk. Justice Jackson's personal secretary, for one, said that Rehnquist lied about this issue, and recent scholarly findings of Jackson's papers support the secretary. But, Rehnquist was also a very affable Chief Justice, a remarkable writer, and undoubtedly a brilliant legal mind, so some might be inclined to forgive him and say he was not disqualified from being a Justice even if he lied during his confirmation hearings in 1971 and 1986.

Of course, if we are forgiving of Rehnquist, why not forgive Hastings. How about it Eugene: if a liar and possible perjurer was good enough for our Chief Justice, why is a possible perjurer and possibly corrupt ex-federal judge disqualified from serving as Chief of the House Intelligence Committee? At least with Hastings, his sins were publicly aired, and the voters choose him anyway.
10.22.2006 2:01am
Josh Jasper:
Pathetic. Pajamas Media's backers should ask for a refund.
10.22.2006 2:25am
A. Zarkov (mail):
The standards for holding a security clearance are pretty high. I have seen people get their security clearances yanked for the most trivial reasons. One case in particular stands out. A holder of a Department of Energy "Q" clearance lost his daughter in an automobile accident. A local newspaper erroneously reported that he was under investigation for her death. The DOE yanked his clearance just on the basis of that article, and it took him a long time to get it back. Another person admitted to being depressed because he was going through a divorce and that was enough to get his clearance yanked. It was suspended for at least three years. Speaking of three years, Sandy Burger confessed to stealing and destroying top-secret documents from the National Archives. He got no jail time and his clearance was suspended for only three years. Now comes Hastings, one of the few federal judges ever removed from the bench in the history of the republic, and now find he might be appointed head of the House Intelligence Committee. I don't care that a jury didn't convict Hastings. O. J. Simpon's jury didn't convict either. The weight of evidence against him is compelling enough to deny him clearance.
10.22.2006 2:42am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Speaking of three years, Sandy Burger confessed to stealing and destroying top-secret documents from the National Archives. He got no jail time and his clearance was suspended for only three years.
Yes, but this isn't like being on probation for three years -- you do your time, and it's over. "Suspended for three years" means that three years is the floor, not the ceiling. Nothing says he'll ever get a clearance again -- and I doubt he will. But he can't even try for three years.
10.22.2006 4:28am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Nothing says he'll ever get a clearance again -- and I doubt he will. But he can't even try for three years."

Then why make it only three years? Why not an indefinite suspension of clearance to communicate both to him and the public the seriousness of his offense?
10.22.2006 5:25am
davod (mail):
Berger's clearance will be reinstated the moment a Democratic admistration has a job for him. Another reason not to let the Dems back in.
10.22.2006 7:17am
davod (mail):
I cannot remember the history of Hasting's transgressions as a Judge but I would sugegst the reason they might have impeached him is because as with most Dems, he refused to step down.
10.22.2006 7:18am
PersonFromPorlock:

The Times isn't perfect, but its not biased against the president and the reporting in it can be trusted.

Yes, I heard that on CBS.
10.22.2006 8:16am
johnt (mail):
No suprise here. If they can cheer and shout their love for a guy who took bribes from foreign governments,[ see US V Riady} Hastings looks like Goldilocks.

And what the hell is a conservaive Democrat?
10.22.2006 8:51am
Syd Henderson (mail):
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Syd, I disagree. Who better to understand perjury than one who may have committed it? I thought it was fitting that Rehnquist should preside over Clinton's perjury impeachment proceedings


I suppose you could argue that it would be nice to have an expert on impeachment on the Judiciary committee and Alcee Hastings certainly knows all about it from first-hand experience.
10.22.2006 12:19pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
No suprise here. If they can cheer and shout their love for a guy who took bribes from foreign governments,[ see US V Riady} Hastings looks like Goldilocks.

Is this the Ghost of October Surprises Past back to haunt us?
10.22.2006 12:45pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Volokh: Where's the outrage that Presidnet Bush is currently CAMPAIGNING with an admitted woman-strangler????

Biased jerk.
10.22.2006 2:54pm
Cornellian (mail):
Few things make me doubt the credibility of the Democrats on national security issues more than the Burger incident. Don't less well connected people get sentenced to prison for what he did? I still find it incredible that someone like that was a national security advisor. I'd really like to hear any Democrat going for the 2008 nomination to say that Burger's conduct was outrageous and that he will never hold any job in that candidate's administration.
10.22.2006 3:08pm
Fd'A:
Pelosi (and several other Democrats not in leadership posts) voted to impeach him. The Democrats controlled the House back then. If I remember correctly, he was impeached because of corruption (taking a bribe) and perjury at his corruption trial.
10.22.2006 3:36pm
jahoulih:
In the Update, for "Jefferson" read "Hastings." Freudian slip?
10.22.2006 4:58pm
Cornellian (mail):
I wonder if the media at the time of the impeachment hearings was ever tempted to refer to it as "The Battle of Hastings." If I were a journalist I doubt I'd be able to resist using that line.
10.22.2006 6:49pm
Milhouse (www):
Crazy Train:
Presidnet Bush is currently CAMPAIGNING with an admitted woman-strangler

What are you talking about?
10.22.2006 7:14pm
Angus:

Few things make me doubt the credibility of the Democrats on national security issues more than the Burger incident. Don't less well connected people get sentenced to prison for what he did?


The Justice department investigation concluded that Berger inadvertantly left the Archives with copies (not originals) of classified documents while researching for his testimony before the 9/11 commission. He then destroyed them upon learning of his mistake. Berger got a $50,000 fine and a suspension of his clearance. What in there merits jail time? If he had given them to a newspaper or to Al Qaeda, then sure I could see the argument, but as far as we know, he didn't.
10.22.2006 8:55pm
Arbusto Spectrum:

Crazy Train:
Presidnet Bush is currently CAMPAIGNING with an admitted woman-strangler

What are you talking about?


If Crazy Train is referencing what I think he is, he is slightly mistaken. Bush was campaigning with a candidate who admitted to adultery, I believe with one of his office staff, but DENIED that he strangled her in the fashion she alleged on her call to 911.
10.22.2006 9:34pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"The Justice department investigation concluded that Berger inadvertantly left the Archives with copies (not originals) of classified documents while researching for his testimony before the 9/11 commission. He then destroyed them upon learning of his mistake."

Berger confessed to deliberately removing top-secret documents and destroying them. Classified documents are usually plainly marked on every page (both sides) in the top and bottom margins. They're also usually inserted into a marked folder with lots of color-coding that depends on the level of clearance. While you might accidentally get one thin document mixed up with your own papers, multiple documents strains credibility past the breaking point. Then there is the matter of the notes he put in his pants pockets.

One story (from Wikipedia) says the documents he stole were unmarked printouts off a hard drive and could not have had annotations in the margins. I find this story very hard to believe. Classified content is usually printed out on special paper that has pre-printed security labels. To do otherwise is to violate security procedures.

Why would Berger destroy the documents? He makes his offense more serious by doing so. He surely knows better.
10.22.2006 9:39pm
Houston Lawyer:
Too bad Marion Barry isn't in congress, or he could have the position instead.
10.22.2006 10:16pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I agree that w/o the chairmanship of the intelligence committee, Hastings most likely would not get a security clearance. I had a DOE "Q" clearance for awhile, and it wasn't easy to get or keep. They caught wind of some alleged drug usage by me over a decade before in college, and I was hooked up to a lie detector for a half an hour for questioning on that. Another friend had a cocaine possession on his record (a decade before), and took over a year to finally get a clearance. Neither my suspected drug usage, or this friend's actual drug usage was current, nor really indicated any dishonesty. Taking bribes and purjury both indicate such.

Indeed, I have heard any number of instances similar to the one above, where clearances are either rejected or revoked on mere suspicion of ill deeds. One even for bad credit.

And I suspect that the standards for my "Q" clearance were lower than those for the level of clearance required for chairing the Intelligence Committee. Theoretically, I might have had access to nuclear weapons technology (I never did, and made sure that I didn't - those who did (I was mostly at Sandia) had their travel outside the country seriously limited, etc.) I would think that operational information about ongoing intelligence operations would call for higher levels of security. As was, it entailed a six month FBI investigation, where the references I gave were asked for more references, and they were asked for more. I later heard from people I barely knew that they had been interviewed on my behalf.
10.22.2006 11:15pm
statfan (mail):
But shouldn't the standard for deciding who'll be head of the Intelligence Committee be more than just seniority plus he hasn't been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

As opposed to Elliott Abrams, who actually plead guilty but was still later appointed to a high intelligence position? I notice no comment on this on this blog.

(Personally, I think Abrams and Hastings ought to be shot, but I take corruption and dishonesty among government officials more seriously than most).
10.22.2006 11:54pm
Cornellian (mail):
If Crazy Train is referencing what I think he is, he is slightly mistaken. Bush was campaigning with a candidate who admitted to adultery, I believe with one of his office staff, but DENIED that he strangled her in the fashion she alleged on her call to 911.

OK, well that's all right then.
10.23.2006 12:50am
NickM (mail) (www):
Hastings took a $150,000 bribe for a reduced criminal sentence in a case before him. He then committed perjury in his testimony at his trial. Those offenses are what the impeachment was over.

If you're a Democrat, is this the man you want in charge of the House Intelligence Committee next year?

Nick
10.23.2006 2:52pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
The main problem with Hastings getting the post is not that he's an alleged criminal and criminals shouldn't get security clearances. Rather it's that given that his past behavior was very close to corruption (even though he wasn't convicted of it, he clearly toed the line quite a bit), it would make him more likely to be bribed. Maybe lying about getting pleasured by an intern while speaking to King Hussein of Jordan was a criminal act, it doesn't even come close to reaching the level of the security hazzards inherent in an Alcee Hastings chairmanship. (To ward off the obvious objection, presidents have enough handlers to make sure that prostitutes who could make him susceptible to blackmail would not come anywhere close to him).
10.23.2006 3:04pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Gene and Nick: I agree with you that, if the facts about Hastings' past corruption are as Nick stated, I certainly would not want him to be chair of the Intelligence Committee. The only reservation I have is he was acquitted in the criminal case and the Senate did not bar him from holding federal office when it removed him (as it could have done). I suppose if I were Pelosi, I would look at the impeachment record quite closely to make up my mind on this.
10.23.2006 5:08pm
Dwight in IL (mail):
I suppose if I were Pelosi, I would look at the impeachment record quite closely to make up my mind on this.

Yes, though that presumes that Pelosi has a mind to make up. Which is unclear given past statements such as this:

When you withhold funds from enforcing a decision of the Supreme Court, you are in fact nullifying a decision of the Supreme Court. This is in violation of the respect of separation of powers in our Constitution.

Er, isn't really the essence of separation of powers...

Mind you that's not the actual quote, which is, in full, from the news wire transcript:

This is in violation of the respect for separation of church -- powers in our Constitution, church and state as well. Sometimes the Republicans have a problem with that as well. But forgive my digression.
10.23.2006 8:12pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Has the Senate gone to the extent of barring the impeached person from federal office in any successful impeachments?

It's not a rhetorical question - I have never researched the issue and am hoping some one else already has the answer handy.

Nick
10.24.2006 11:31am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Thanks for the clarification.

I apologize for getting a bit hot about the confusion. It wasn't justified.
10.26.2006 12:55pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
As for Hastings I am also troubled by the notion of him being the head of any committee. On the other hand if he has to be the head of some committee the intelligence is probably a good fit. His ethical lapses suggest that he may be susceptible to bribes or otherwise persuadable by favors. On any sort of commerce, economic or other business affecting committee this would be a much more serious worry. However the intelligence committee isn't the sort of place where one is likely to be offered 'innocent' bribes. On the intelligence committee you are probably either going to be offered money by a foreign spy or no one at all. Jumping up from letting some crook go on a bribe to treason is a pretty big step that I highly doubt Hastings will take.

In fact if the worry is the revelation of classified material I would be far more worried about the congressmen we don't have scandals about. It is the skeletons in the closet that made one susceptible to blackmail and people are way more likely to commit treason to avoid having their marriage destroyed, their career ruined and potential being sent to jail that they are for some cash.

--

As for Buerger give me a fucking break. He violated some procedural rules but made no attempt to turn that information over to anyone else or otherwise cause anyone harm. Even if he did it all on purpose my primary reaction is so?

Surely if this sort of 'innocent' (as in no public revelation) violation of security clearance deserves jail time and a bar from future government service than anyone who participated, covered up or interfered with the Plane investigation deserves to be locked up for life.

I mean in the Palm case a CIA operatives identity was purposely revealed permanently destroying a national security asset for political gain. This is obviously more serious. So applying your precedent for Buerger we should be clearing out Cheney and all his staff right now since even if they didn't participate in the revelation themselves surely they are doing what they can to slow the prosecution.

Only extreme partisan blindness could worry about Buerger's little slip and ignore what appears to be an organized plan to reveal sensitive material for political gain.
10.26.2006 1:16pm