Thursday, July 19, 2007

Plame's Lawsuit Dismissed

According to a federal judge, Bush administration officials had the right to leak her name:

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds and said he would not express an opinion on the constitutional arguments. Bates dismissed the case against all defendants: Cheney, White House political adviser Karl Rove, former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

Plame's attorneys had said the lawsuit would be an uphill battle. Public officials are normally immune from such lawsuits filed in connection with their jobs.

While Bates did not address the constitutional questions, he seemed to side with administration officials who said they were acting within their job duties. Plame had argued that what they did was illegal and outside the scope of their government jobs.

"The alleged means by which defendants chose to rebut Mr. Wilson's comments and attack his credibility may have been highly unsavory, " Bates wrote. "But there can be no serious dispute that the act of rebutting public criticism, such as that levied by Mr. Wilson against the Bush administration's handling of prewar foreign intelligence, by speaking with members of the press is within the scope of defendants' duties as high-level Executive Branch officials."

"Unsavory" isn't the word for it.

No word yet on whether Wilson and Plame will appeal this decision.

Update: Melanie Sloan, lawyer for Plame and Wilson, stated on Hardball that she intends to appeal.

Update: Novak Justifies Outing Plame and Sources

He also says in his book that if given the chance, he’d print her name again. “I broke no law and endangered no intelligence operation,” Novak writes. This morning, he added he felt “disappointed in the journalism profession” for its reaction to his printing Plame Wilson’s name. “I thought we stuck together in things like this. I guess that wasn’t the case.”

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