- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

Nobles: Elia Kazan, an unblinking director with unequaled vision. It has been said that the camera never blinks. That was the case with both Mr. Kazan’s eyes and the cameras that filmed his award-winning movies. While Mr. Kazan may not have been a great man — he had the foibles and failings of most other mortals — his insistence on seeing the world unblinkingly made him a magnificent director and a model of courage.

Mr. Kazan tried to make his movies as true to life as possible. He pioneered location shooting and preferred filming on live streets over sterile studio sets. To see the same realism from his actors, he had them immerse themselves in the minds of their characters through method acting, which Mr. Kazan described as “turning psychology into behavior.”

Under his direction, 21 performers were nominated for Academy Awards and nine won. He elicited career-great performances from Marlon Brando, Natalie Wood, James Dean and many others. Mr. Kazan won two Academy Awards for directing movies and three Tonys for directing plays. In 1999, he was presented an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

That award was controversial, because of Mr. Kazan’s revelation of the names of his former communist associates to the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952. Yet, Mr. Kazan saw communists as the thugs and traitors they were. He saw that silence about the abuses of communism would not only cost him his career, but it was continuing to cost his liberal friends their souls. His decision to divulge their names was a clear-eyed act of courage and patriotism.

Mr. Kazan was even perceptive enough to see his own limitations. He once wrote, “I don’t have great range, I am no good with music or spectacles. The classics are beyond me.”

However, Mr. Kazan saw the common with uncommon vision. He once said that he tried “to get poetry out of the common things of life.” He succeeded spectacularly. Mr. Kazan passed away this week at 94. His clear sight will be as badly missed as the sight of him in a director’s chair.

Knaves: The leaker (or leakers) who revealed the name and CIA employment of the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV.

An unknown number of secrets have been compromised and an unknown number of patriots have been jeopardized as a result of that selfish act.

The leak was a deliberate and malevolent act. There is no excusing, and there can be no rationalizing it. It may have been intended only to discredit Mr. Wilson, but it could destroy many others. It already has stolen time from administration staffers and pilfered precious minutes from President Bush. The leak might even kill, if Mr. Wilson’s wife were more than an analyst.

After all, because of the compartmentalized nature of the intelligence business, the leaker would have had no idea what secrets or lives would be endangered by the disclosure. The individuals in one intelligence department do not know the identities and the duties (much less the contacts or the secrets) of operatives in other departments. Nor should they. There is greater safety for all in darkness. To see most clearly, intelligence agents must stay in the shadows.

The 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act provides appropriate penalties for those who pierce that protection. This considered act clearly falls under that statute.

There is neither safety nor honor in the company of a felon. Once the identity of the leaker is discovered, he or she must be prosecuted to the full extent of the statute; he or she must be punished to its most severe degree. Mr. Bush must take the appropriate action when the identity of the leaker is discovered.

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