"For the sake of perception, I think there is always going to be a cloud hanging over whether or not this Justice Department, run by John Ashcroft, will ever have the objectivity and the independence to do the kind of investigation required."

--Senator Tom Daschle

This leak business is so disturbing, such an egregrious violation of federal law, that even Republicans are starting to speak out. Larry Johnson, former CIA analyst and counterterrorism official at the State Department and "registered Republican," had this to say to Terence Smith on the Newshour tonight:
Let's be very clear about what happened. This is not an alleged abuse. This is a confirmed abuse. I worked with this woman. She started training with me. She has been undercover for three decades, she is not as Bob Novak suggested a CIA analyst. But given that, I was a CIA analyst for four years. I was undercover. I could not divulge to my family outside of my wife that I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency until I left the agency on September 30, 1989. At that point I could admit it.

So the fact that she's been undercover for three decades and that has been divulged is outrageous because she was put undercover for certain reasons. One, she works in an area where people she meets with overseas could be compromised. When you start tracing back who she met with, even people who innocently met with her, who are not involved in CIA operations, could be compromised. For these journalists to argue that this is no big deal and if I hear another Republican operative suggesting that well, this was just an analyst fine, let them go undercover. Let's put them overseas and let's out them and then see how they like it. They won't be able to stand the heat.

I say this as a registered Republican. I'm on record giving contributions to the George Bush campaign. This is not about partisan politics. This is about a betrayal, a political smear of an individual with no relevance to the story. Publishing her name in that story added nothing to it. His entire intent was correctly as Ambassador Wilson noted: to intimidate, to suggest that there was some impropriety that somehow his wife was in a decision making position to influence his ability to go over and savage a stupid policy, an erroneous policy and frankly, what was a false policy of suggesting that there were nuclear material in Iraq that required this war. This was about a political attack. To pretend that it's something else and to get into this parsing of words, I tell you, it sickens me to be a Republican to see this.

Does anyone honestly believe that Ashcroft's Justice Department can be trusted to conduct an investigation of the White House's leak of the identity of an undercover CIA agent? How convenient that the Republican-controlled Congress let the independent counsel statute, used so ruthlessly by the Republicans against Clinton, expire last year.

Just imagine if the Democrats were to spend as much time and money investigating this Bush administration as the Republicans did during the Clinton administration, only to learn that Hillary made some money on a shady real estate deal and that Bill got blown in the Oval Office! Hell, who needs Ken Starr anyway? Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can find enough damning evidence to support sending Bush & Co where they belong.