Monday, December 13, 2010

Swing and a miss

At The Notion, Laura Flanders takes New York's Republican Congressman Peter King to task for his evolving "definition of terrorist". King, Flanders complains, "can't remember what the word means anymore."

The problem is that two of the three examples Flanders uses to track King's allegedly inconsistent definition of terrorism have nothing to do with terrorism. After staking out King's position on a 1980's extradition case, Flander's writes:
Flash forward to 2005, when Karl Rove and Scooter Libby outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. King called for "crosshairs" to be set on news media for not being tough enough on Plame's husband Joe Wilson instead. He also suggested that the media "be shot" for pursuing the story.
First, let's get the facts straight: it was Richard Armitage, not Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, that "outed" Valerie Plame. And Armitage didn't actually "out" her, as she wasn't undercover to begin with (she was listed as a CIA agent in Who's Who, for crying out loud). This is why Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald didn't charge Armitage (or anyone else) with outing Plame; he concluded there was no evidence a crime was committed.

Setting all that aside, what does any of this have to do with terrorism? By Flanders own account, all King did was criticize the media for not doing its job.

Flanders continues:
Terrorism has a new definition now, though, and King is emphatic on who the bad guys are. "I am calling on the attorney general and supporting his efforts to fully prosecute WikiLeaks and its founder [Julian Assange] for violating the Espionage Act," he told a New York radio station.
Again, what does this have to do with terrorism? According to Wikipedia, the Espionage Act made it a crime "to convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies."

This sounds like a pretty fair description of what Julian Assange did. In fact, the Wikipedia article on the Espionage Act includes a section specifically on the Assange case. But there's no mention of terrorism in the article, and there shouldn't be. Espionage and terrorism are different things, and King seems to understand that, even if Flanders doesn't.

I'm actually not a fan of Peter King, but Flanders is bending over backwards to play "gotcha" when there's no cha to be got.

I try to read The Notion regularly, so I can get opposing views and keep up with what the Left is thinking, but when this is the kind of stuff they push it's hard to keep going back.

No comments: