Oct 022003
Authors: Russell Quintero

On July 6, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador to Iraq,

wrote an opinion column in the New York Times in which he

questioned the intelligence used by the Bush administration to

justify war with Iraq. Wilson himself had gone to Niger to

investigate the validity of rumors that Iraq was attempting to

purchase uranium from there and found the evidence lacking.

On July 14, just eight days later, syndicated columnist Robert

D. Novak wrote a column that ran in The Washington Post and other

newspapers about Wilson’s report and why it was ignored by the

administration. In the middle of his column, Novak wrote, “Wilson

never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency

operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Wilson was, understandably, quite upset at the leak of his

wife’s name and CIA involvement and has claimed that it is a

deliberate retaliation by the Bush administration in response to

his criticism. His vocal outcry has lead to an investigation into

the leak, an investigation that could lead to felony charges under

the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.

The show gets interesting when you look at how the other players

involved have reacted to the investigation and public opinion, and

how political opponents of the Bush administration have attempted

to crash the party. Novak said on CNN’s “Crossfire,” “Nobody in the

Bush administration called me to leak this. There is no great crime

here.” In a column he wrote Wednesday, Novak admitted that he was

asked not to disclose her name, but “he never suggested to me that

Wilson’s wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I

would not have used her name.” Novak is quoted in a cnn.com article

as saying “according to a confidential source at the CIA, Mrs.

Wilson was an analyst, not a spy, not a covert operative and not in

charge of undercover operators,” which is in direct contradiction

to the quote from his July 14 column.

So far, everything is fairly straightforward. The husband is

angry that his wife was endangered; the journalist is trying to

pretend he didn’t do anything unethical, and the Bush

administration is trying to look cooperative. Then, from out of

left field, come three women senators, led by my home state of

California’s Barbara Boxer, denouncing this as an affront to women.

Boxer is quoted as saying, “As mothers, as women in nontraditional

careers, this situation is most troubling to us.”

Now there are plenty of things to be angry about in this

situation. Wilson could be right, and it could have been a

deliberate attack. Putting his wife in danger to get back at him is

clearly an immoral act. You can be angry at the irresponsibility of

the journalist in disclosing her name, even when asked not to, for

claiming that she was an operative without having confirmed that

fact, or for not thinking about the implications his naming her

would have on her, her family and any contacts she may have had.

You can complain about Novak’s immaturity in not admitting his

error and apologizing. You can denounce the administration for

ignoring the report in the first place. Yet, no matter how I try, I

cannot see how this is an attack on women.

What I find offensive is that these women would use this

incident, which is quite serious and puts the lives of many people

in jeopardy, to attempt to further their own political careers.

They are so eager to attack a political opponent that they refuse

to stop and look at how ridiculous their claim is. They are so busy

trying to look as if they are looking out for the interests of

women that they don’t have the time to actually do so.

Russell is a junior studying physics. He is Nuclear Propulsion

Officer Candidate in the United States Navy.




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