Hume vs. Gibson on the "exposing" of CIA officer


In a "My Word" commentary excoriating Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) for "exposing" CIA officer Fulton Armstrong at the confirmation hearing for John R. Bolton, Fox News host John Gibson called for "frog-marching John Kerry down the Capitol steps" but failed to note that it was Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) who first mentioned the CIA officer by name during the hearing. Moreover, Armstrong's name and prior role at the CIA were already publicly disclosed, as Media Matters for America previously documented.

Gibson compared Kerry's naming of Armstrong at the April 12 hearing for Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak's exposure of CIA officer Valerie Plame. But an April 12 report from fellow Fox News host and Washington managing editor Brit Hume further undermines Gibson's call for outrage against Kerry. On the April 12 broadcast of Fox News' Special Report, Hume quoted the CIA explaining: "It's not the end of the world, since previous CIA work put the officer's name out there." The New York Times noted that while Armstrong had been identified in news reports two years earlier, the CIA had "asked news organizations to withhold" his name when it resurfaced in connection with Bolton's nomination.

From the April 13 edition of Fox News' The Big Story with John Gibson:

GIBSON: Remember all that screaming from former diplomat Joe Wilson when Robert Novak exposed Wilson's wife as a CIA agent? Her name is Valerie Plame. That's her in the sunglasses. You'll know her when you see her. She dresses like that all the time, big Italian sunglasses, a scarf over her head. Spooks can't be exposed, screamed her husband, and he blamed Karl Rove, insisting Rove exposed his wife as payback for Wilson going public with the story that he, Wilson, personally investigated whether Saddam Hussein tried to get nuke bomb material, and the answer was no.

Wilson said Bush ignored his information and Rove dealt payback by exposing Wilson's wife as a CIA agent. Wilson said he wanted Rove -- quote -- "frog-marched" across the White House lawn, and, oh, by the way, be sure to elect John Kerry, the anti-Bush.

Well, cut to Monday. There was a Senate Foreign Relations Committee trying to batter John Bolton for his long and distinguished history as a U.N. basher. Hey, somebody has got to do it. And Senator John Kerry exposed a CIA officer by name right there on TV, right there on the wire service stories, right there on the Internet.

Bolton tried to keep his cool and continued to refer to the CIA officer in question as Mr. Smith, but Kerry had already blurted out the agent's name. So, another spook uncovered, exposed, now not able to work in his chosen profession and forced to do just what Valerie Plame did, get his spouse to screech that this is treason and then sign a big fat book deal. Hey, it's America. All aggrieved parties get book deals.

What about frog-marching John Kerry down the Capitol steps? Don't hear a call for that, do we? So, why not? When it comes to frog-marching suspected undercover operative exposers, the demand only comes during an election season and it is never a demand lodged against a prominent Democrat.

From the April 12 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: The CIA says that Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry and Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar inadvertently identified a CIA officer working undercover, this during yesterday's Senate hearing on John Bolton's nomination to be U.N. ambassador.

During questioning, Bolton used an alias for the officer saying, quote, "I'll try and call him Mr. Smith here," but then Kerry read a transcript of closed-door interviews with state department officials which included the officer's full name. Lugar also mentioned the officer's name.

The CIA says, quote, "It's not the end of the world, since previous CIA work put the officer's name out there," and, quote, "We're not talking about someone who is doing deep espionage overseas." The CIA, although, says it hopes the officer's career is not adversely impacted.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
CIA Leak Investigation
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