The Rancid Stink of Partisanship

Valerie Plame just finished testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, marking the first time she has publicly answered questions about her 2003 outing as a covert CIA operative by White House operatives. Notably, Plame cited the "terrible irony that administration officials were the ones who destroyed my cover" and suggested that others may think twice about working for and with the CIA "if our government cannot even protect my identity."

At the beginning of the hearing, Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) explained that it was not Congress' job "to determine criminal culpability, but it is out job to determine what went wrong and insist on accountability." By the end of the session, he was grumbling, "Facts are not Republican or Democratic."

His consternation followed a shocking display of partisanship, as Republicans questioned at length whether Plame was even covert. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) was a particular disgrace, demanding to know whether Plame was a Democrat or a Republican, to which Plame responded, "I am a Democrat." The hypocrisy of Westmoreland accusing Plame (and her husband) of being partisan hacks during that session would have been laughable if it weren’t so profoundly infuriating.

Tom Davis (R-VA) dismissed the entire thing as "more like a CIA problem than a White House problem." Plame nonetheless pointed out that it was senior officials at the White House and State Department who "carelessly and recklessly" outed her, that the president promised to remove anyone associated with the leak, but that Karl Rove is still there. Oof.

(Crossposted at AlterNet PEEK.)

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