When in doubt, blame the victim. Like sleazy trial lawyers, Republicans have opened a new front in the anti-Plame/Wilson offensive that targets the CIA -- no doubt as due punishment for having the temerity of requesting the leak inquiry. Leading the charge is Pat Roberts, the senator from Kansas:
The Senate Intelligence Committee will conduct hearings on American spy agencies' use of cover to protect the identities of intelligence officers, the committee chairman said on Sunday. The chairman, Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, said on the CNN program "Late Edition" that the committee was "going to go into quite a series of hearings in regard to cover." The practice of intelligence cover has come under scrutiny during the investigation of the disclosure of the C.I.A. employment of Valerie Wilson, who had worked under cover for the agency for 18 years before being publicly identified as a C.I.A. operative in 2003. ...
"I must say from a common-sense standpoint, driving back and forth to work to the C.I.A. headquarters, I don't know if that really qualifies as being, you know, covert," Mr. Roberts said. "But generically speaking, it is a very serious matter." LINKSo nice that Mr. Roberts has such an inquiring mind that just absolutely needs to know the CIA's definition of "covert." Or maybe that old cynic Josh Marshall is on to something:
And this, understand, is the premise of the new Roberts' hearings. Was she really covert enough? And does the CIA really know how to define 'covert'. Asked about a bank robber caught red-handed outside the bank, Sen. Roberts response would be to say, "But how much real claim did the bank have to that money? Did they really earn it? And what did they do to protect it?" LINKAs Marshall also points out, the whole discussion is a little moot since the inquiry was triggered by the CIA because it knew that Plame qualified as a covert operative. But why let such minor details bother our little GOP minds when we can have so much more fun obfuscating the obvious.