Mark Steyn — who appears to have been driven around the bend by the fact that liberals think it's wrong for the White House to casually blow the cover of a clandestine CIA agent in order to discredit her husband — passes along the latest conservative meme:
As her weirdly self-obsesssed husband Joseph C. Wilson IV conceded on CNN the other day, she wasn't a "clandestine officer" and, indeed, hadn't been one for six years. So one can only "leak" her name in the sense that one can "leak" the name of the checkout clerk at Home Depot.
Let's roll the tape. Here's Wilson on CNN last Thursday:
BLITZER: But the other argument that's been made against you is that you've sought to capitalize on this extravaganza, having that photo shoot with your wife, who was a clandestine officer of the CIA....
WILSON: My wife was not a clandestine officer the day that Bob Novak blew her identity.
Wilson is obviously saying that his wife stopped being clandestine as soon as Novak wrote about her, not that she was never clandestine. Can't these guys do any better than that?
Steyn, along with most of the right these days, spends nearly the entire column flinging mud at Joe Wilson, and I suppose I might do the same if I found myself in Steyn's increasingly uncomfortable shoes. After all, it's been obvious for some time, and is even more obvious now, that multiple people in the White House spoke to multiple reporters about Valerie Plame's CIA status even though that information compromised a potentially important covert operation. There's really no honorable way to claim that this is an OK thing to do, so the only option left is to try and divert attention away from that basic fact.