Friday, October 03, 2003

Hiding the truth in plain sight

Kevin Drum wonders why there hasn't been more progress in outing the leakers in the Plame Affair.

I'm a little surprised that more progress hasn't been made yet. In a normal leak, you've got one leaker and one leakee, and as long they both keep their mouths shut the secret is safe. But in this case, not only do you have multiple leakers but there are apparently half a dozen reporters that they leaked to. And you just know that they've privately told friends, who have privately told other friends, so that by now half the journalists in Washington know who the culprits are.

With this being the biggest open secret in Washington you would think something more definitive would have come out by now. Yet all we have had are some intriguing hints about Rove and Scooter. It makes me wonder if having to many people in the know might actually make it harder to figure out who is the leaker.

Follow me here. If you want to keep the identity of the leakers secret, yet you know that a LOT of people already know who they are, how do you do it? You could clamp down on information, but that would restrict the field of investigation to the information currently available. Or, you could follow the old disinformation route and put out multiple false leads in order to obscure the real story. Sometimes the best way to disguise the truth is to wrap in multiple layers of lies.

Hell, even the original Washington Post story that claimed that there were two leakers who talked to six journalists could have been disinformation. By claiming that so many journalists know who the leakers are you get the who Washington Press Corps distracted by a big old guessing game about which of their colleagues has got the goods.

There is no doubt that Plame's cover was blown. There is little doubt that this was done for political intimidation. But the question of who did it might be unsolvable so long as there is to much information out there.

That could be the whole point.


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