. . . the Obama administration's triumphant, self-aggrandizing, uber-detailed leaks about:
. . . how Seal Team 6 had exterminated Osama bin Laden with the help of a Pakistani doctor;
. . . how Israel and the United States froze centrifuges at Iranian nuclear sites with the stuxnet computer virus;
. . . how Brits and Saudis penetrated the underwear bomber network;
. . . how the president, personally briefed by Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas on the ethics of using drones, picks targets to be vaporized in their beds at night, along with whatever unfortunate wives and children may be sleeping in the same room;
. . . what world leaders said in private conversations with the president about sensitive geopolitical matters, such as whether to support Egytpian President Hosni Mubarak against street demonstrators;
. . . and more, more, more.
[Cue the crickets.]
Here, by the contrastiest of constrasts, is a small sample -- seriously small, intensely small, barely the tip of the iceberg -- of the Houston Chronicle's fervid editorials and columns on the 2003 Valerie Plame leak, back when you-know-who was president. The newspaper did everything but bring rope to lynch Scotter Libby (who was not the leaker), chains to beat Karl Rove (charged and convicted of nothing), and a boiling vat of sulphur for Vice President Cheney (ditto).
July 1, 2005. Don't put reporters in jail. The case is not about reporters. It's about "administration officials' disclosure that the wife of a former U.S. envoy was a CIA operative."
"Officials," plural? How did that turn out? The sole leaker was Richard Armitage, technically a member of the administration, but bulletproof in this shootout because he worked for the beloved Secretary of State Colin Polin, often muttered curses about the Iraq War, and was an establishment and media fave.
October 29, 2005. "By contrast [with Kenneth Starr], [Patrick] Fitzgerald has remained focused on getting to the bottom of the Plame leak. . . . As Fitzgerald repeatedly stressed to reporters Friday, Libby and anyone else who may be indicted in the continuing investigation deserve the benefit of the doubt as to whether they have committed a crime."
By the date of this editorial, Mr. Plame had already "gotten to the bottom of the Plame leak." He already knew Mr. Armitage was the leaker. But Mr. Armitage, a beneficiary of what might be called status immuity or situational immunity -- he was a good guy -- would never be charged. Instead, the oh-so-nonpolitical Mr. Patrick went after the White House.
April 9, 2006. "[The] special counsel's account is embarrassing to Bush because the president in 2003 said he was eager to get to the bottom of who leaked Plame's identity as a CIA operative. Having tasked Libby with leaking intelligence information to counter allegations made by Plame's husband, the president should have had a good idea who was responsible for Plame's outing and called Libby on the carpet."
Having already convicted Mr. Libby of being the leaker, the Chronicle excoriates the president for (a) being the leaker-in-chief and (b) being less clever than the editorial board in identifying the leaker. And remember: There's been no trial; and Mr. Libby was not the leaker.
April 21, 2006. "The end of [White House Press Secretary Scott] McClellan's tenure probably was sealed, however, by foundationless assurances he gave about his colleagues' integrity. Asked if Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove or vice presidental Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby leaked the classified identity of CIA employee Valerie Plame, McClellan vouched for them personally."
Again, this is before the trial, and Richard Armitage is who leaked the "classified identity" of Ms. Plame.
June 15, 2006. "Plame, no longer at the CIA, is married to former diplomat and administration critic Joseph Wilson. Rove and Libby leaked her identity to the press in an attempt to discredit Wilson, who had challenged the White House line that Saddam Hussein was seeking African uranium. In doing so, Rove and Libby had no compunction about ruining the career of a valued expert on nuclear proliferation, the most dangerous threat to national security."
Who really "leaked her identity?" Richard Armitage. Here is Mr. Rove's real crime, in the Chronicle's eyes: "Now that Rove has been cleared to criminal liability after a three-year investigation, he is free to concentrate on crafting Republican strategy for the midterm congressional elections in November."
Followed by this gratuitous insult: "If he is successful, he will have supplied fresh evidence that politics is no longer a place for people with a highly refined sense of honor or healthy regard for the truth, and that nice guys finish somewhere between second and last."
September 6, 2006. Craig Hines: "Bush has not taken 'appropriate action' that he promised in October 2003, as Karl Rove remains on the White House payroll."
No telling how angry Mr. Himes might have been if Mr. Rove had been charged for anything (he never was) or if the subsequent -- that means later, after this fevered column -- trial had provided evidence that Mr. Rove had committed a firing offense.
January 23, 2007. "However the disclosures came about, an undisputed fact is that they ended the CIA career of a woman who for years tracked the shadowy global traffic in nuclear materials, working under cover in risky circumstances. If her identity was publicly disclosed simply to pay back her spouse for his criticism of the administration, the public deserves to know."
And now, of course, the public knows: No evidence of payback was ever charged or proved. But so what? Some "undisputed facts" are more inconvenient than others.
January 26, 2007. "Missing from the trial so far is any explanation of how White House efforts to protect Rove caused Libby to make false statements or, as he claims, suffer from faulty memory. Libby's lawyer . . . provided no link between Republican and presidential esteem for Rove and Libby's behavior."
News flash: It is prosecutors' job, not the defense attorney's, to "provide links" (sometimes called "evidence") needed to convict someone. Further, it is prosecutors' job to file whatever charges of criminal conduct said "links" may justify. But, of course, none was filed and no evidence was proffered. The headline, by the way, convicted Mr. Libby of being "no blameless lamb." And where in the federal code is the blameworthy lamb crime defined?
March 7, 2007. "Former Washington Post reporter Denis Collins said that although he and his fellow jurors found Libby guilty of lying, they believed that in disseminating Plame's name he was following the instructions of his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney."
Evidence for that proposition, by the way: nil.
I could go on. But why? All it would prove is that the Houston Chronicle's outrage at national security leaks is highly selective. A nothingburger of a leak by the Bush administration got the full Watergate. The hurricane-quality leaks by the Obama administration? No big deal. In fact, no deal at all. Move along.
This is yet another medallion to hang on the Chronicle editorial board's long wall of shame.