15
Aug
2005

Is the Intelligence Identities Protection Act really impossible to prove?

Plame in the Courtroom

Is the Intelligence Identities Protection Act really impossible to prove?

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 for proof of intent. Typically, writing for Slate on July 19th, Christopher Hitchens 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." Similarly, columnist Richard Cohen, in the July 14 Washington Post, said he thought Rove was a "political opportunist, not a traitor" and that he didn't think Rove "specifically intended to blow the cover of a CIA agent." Such examples could be multiplied many times over.

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. [...] Read the rest on the TomDispatch.com web site. Tom Engelhardt has a good introduction, which is just above the story.
//www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=11747


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