8/14/2005

Exposing the Plame case mistake - Los Angeles Times

Do you have to intend to harm a CIA agent or jeopardize national security in order to violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act? The answer is no.

Exposing the Plame case mistake
# The pundits say the law that protects covert agents' identities won't put anybody away in this investigation. Here's why they're wrong.

By Elizabeth de la Vega
PUNDITS RIGHT, left and center have reached a rare unanimous verdict about one aspect of the grand jury investigation into the Valerie Plame leak: They've decided that no charges can be brought under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 because it imposes an impossibly high standard. Christopher Hitchens, for instance, described the 1982 act as a "silly law" that requires that "you knowingly wish to expose the cover of a CIA officer who you understand may be harmed as a result." Numerous other columnists have nodded their heads smugly in agreement.

Shocking as it may seem, however, the pundits are wrong, and their casual summaries of the requirements of the 1982 statute betray a fundamental misunderstanding regarding proof of criminal intent.

Do you have to intend to harm a CIA agent or jeopardize national security in order to violate the Intelligence Identities Protection Act? The answer is no.

Exposing the Plame case mistake - Los Angeles Times

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