Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 14, 2003

Chavez's attack on Wilson hides the real issues

Linda Chavez suggests that when Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife made a political contribution, she exposed the company that she worked for as a CIA front ("Basking in the spotlight of the leak scandal," Opinion * Commentary, Oct. 9). What a partisan and unethical distortion of the truth.

Valerie Plame, a very high-level CIA agent, was exposed in print by super-patriotic, right-wing journalist Robert Novak. He admits that this information came from highly placed members of the Bush administration.

This leak was an effort to discredit Mr. Wilson and silence any other critics of President Bush's policy toward Iraq.

Revealing that Ms. Plame was a CIA operative, and revealing the name of the company that was her front, is little short of treason. It not only puts her at risk, but puts at extreme risk any agents she might have recruited.

The article by Ms. Chavez criticized not the behavior of her fellow Republican or the apparently treasonous behavior of members of the Bush administration in leaking this classified information in an attempt to stifle criticism, but the attitude of Mr. Wilson.

This is typical of the way the Republican Party has been trying to stifle embarrassing truths throughout America.

This is the same thing that California Republicans did when the stories of candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger's sexual predations came out -- dismiss them as "trash politics" because of the timing despite the fact that he admitted that at least some of them were true.

Victor Wilkotz

Marriottsville

No right to withhold source of the leak

Robert Novak does not enjoy a constitutional privilege to refuse to disclose the name of the person or persons who leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent to him ("Bush doubts investigators can find CIA leak sources," Oct. 8).

Even assuming that the First Amendment permits bona fide journalists to maintain the confidentiality of their sources, there is no constitutional right to withhold the name of a leaker when the act of leaking is likely a crime.

And as an especially well-informed Washington insider, Mr. Novak must have understood the potential consequences to national security of publicly naming Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife as a "CIA operative."

By publishing the leaked information in these circumstances, Mr. Novak became an accessory to the breach of national security that his source committed.

While I am not suggesting that Mr. Novak be prosecuted for what can be charitably characterized as displaying astonishingly poor judgment, he has no right to withhold vitally important information from a criminal investigation.

Benjamin Rosenberg

Baltimore

Did everyone know identity of agent?

I am amazed that the president doubts his administration will find out who disclosed that Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife was a CIA agent because of the large number of persons who could have done so ("Bush doubts investigators can find CIA leak sources," Oct. 8).

Why did so many people in the administration have to know that Mr. Wilson's wife was a CIA agent?

Surely only a few people inside or outside the CIA needed to talk directly to her about her secret work.

The leaker or leakers must be found and severely punished. And the principle of need-to-know must be strictly enforced when leaks can have such serious consequences.

Noel H. Ethridge

Aberdeen

Lax laws leave immigrants at risk

I'm disappointed that The Sun relegated the story of an enslaved Nigerian girl to Page 6B ("Couple accused of enslaving Nigerian girl," Oct. 9). This case is another example of how our lax enforcement of immigration law has caused a child tragic and needless suffering.

Critics of immigration reform fail to realize that its purpose is not to discriminate but to protect both American citizens and immigrants.

If our immigration laws had been properly enforced, a teen-age girl would not have been physically and sexually abused for five years while being forced to work without pay.

David Firestone

Chase

If only the president lived in California

Would it be possible to move the White House to California so that we could recall President Bush?

After all, his federal deficit makes Calif. Gov. Gray Davis' budget shortfall look like pocket change.

Gladys Henn

Baltimore

Permissive culture culminates in chaos

I read with interest Jennifer McMenamin's article "Among brushes with the law, opportunities for learning" (Oct. 6), and I commend the efforts of law enforcement personnel to get through to these kids. However, I was struck by the ignorance and inconsideration from the boys in these juvenile lock-up facilities.

What seems completely lost on these kids is that their irresponsible and often illegal behavior has made their conflicts with the police necessary. Two of the boys in particular claim to have been "harassed" by officers for such things as obnoxiously loud music, noisy exhaust systems on their cars, and even assault and car theft.

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