Medicare and Social Security will become insolvent sooner than estimated earlier, Medicare's trustees said in their annual report, issued May 1.
President Bush's plunge in the polls began when Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV accused him of
lying when he said in his 2003 state of the union address that "the British government has
learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium in Africa."
Investigations by the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Robb-Silverman Commission, and the
British Butler Commission have made it clear it was Wilson who lied, but this is rarely noted
by a news media more interested in repeating the charge than in reporting the facts.
Ever since then, the president has been playing defense against a series of leaks undermining
his foreign policy. The New York Times won a Pulitzer this year for disclosing that the
National Security Agency has been listening in on conversations between al Qaida operatives
abroad and people in the United States. The Washington Post won a Pulitzer for disclosing the
CIA has "secret prisons" in Europe for al Qaida bigwigs.
Thanks to constant repetition of the "Bush lied!" meme, a plurality of Americans now believe
Bill Clinton (!) is more truthful. But the worm may be about to turn.
The Wilson story achieved critical mass when Robert Novak disclosed in his column that Wilson's
wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA. A special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was
appointed to determine if the Intelligence Identities Protection Act had been violated.
Most in the news media applauded Mr. Fitzgerald's appointment. The outing of Ms. Plame was a
serious breach of national security, they argued.
Journalistic ardor cooled somewhat when Mr. Fitzgerald jailed then New York Times reporter
Judith Miller for contempt when she refused to disclose who told her about Ms. Plame.
After 85 days, Ms. Miller tired of prison food. Her source was I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then
chief of staff to the vice president, she told Mr. Fitzgerald, who indicted Mr. Libby last
October on a charge of having lied to the grand jury about from whom he had learned of Ms.
This was a Martha Stewart charge lying to cover up something that wasn't a crime because
it's pretty clear the Intelligence Identities Protection Act hasn't been violated. Though
she'd been an under cover operative early in her career, for more than five years preceding her
outing, Ms. Plame had been an analyst at CIA headquarters in Langley.
Being liberal requires flexibility of principle, but it's been fascinating to watch the
contortions of journalists who argue that revealing Ms. Plame's identity was a serious breach
of national security which must be prosecuted, but the other leaks are boons to the republic
which should be applauded.
The Bush administration disagrees. Investigations into the NSA and "secret prisons" leaks are
nearing completion. A senior CIA official has been fired for leaking, and, reportedly, is
singing like a canary to avoid prosecution. The FBI knows who's been talking to journalists,
ABC's Brian Ross said a source told him.
Journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, Attorney General Alberto
Gonzalez said on ABC's "This Week" program Sunday.
I doubt journalists will be charged under the Espionage Act, but I do expect vigorous
application of the precedent Mr. Fitzgerald set when he jailed Ms. Miller. Reporters who have
published or broadcast classified information can expect subpoenas, and can expect to cool
their heels in the pokey until they disclose who leaked to them.
That precedent may be Mr. Fitzgerald's lasting legacy. The case against Mr. Libby is weak, and
he is disappointingly small potatoes for liberals who have their hearts set on bigger game.
(Washington journalists were all atwitter May 12 over a report on a left-wing Web site, since
debunked, that Mr. Fitzgerald had secretly indicted Bush political consigliere Karl Rove on
At a conference at Princeton University last week, Retired Admiral Bobby Ray Inman told several
Web loggers the actual target of Mr. Fitzgerald's apparently endless investigation is Richard
Adm. Inman is a former director of the NSA and deputy director of the CIA, who presumably has
better sources than the left-wing blogger who floated the Rove rumor.
Mr. Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state, is thought to be Mr. Novak's source, and the
source also for Washington Post editor Bob Woodward. He is a logical target, but a most
unsatisfying one for Bush haters.
After all the cheerleading journalists have done for Mr. Fitzgerald, it would be ironic if he
were remembered most for handing prosecutors the weapon they used against journalists to shut
down the leaks on which journalists depend.