- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

Plame vs. CIA

Valerie Plame, the former undercover CIA officer whose 2003 exposure touched off a leak investigation, is accusing the government of delaying publication of her new book.

Mrs. Plame and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, sued the CIA in a New York federal court yesterday. They accused the government of illegally refusing to let Mrs. Plame write about the specific dates she worked for the agency.

The CIA, which has acknowledged only that Mrs. Plame worked for the agency since 2002, must approve all writings of former officers before they can be published.

“The sole benchmark is whether it contains classified information,” CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said. “The concern is that publication of the manuscript as submitted would cause additional damage to operations and would affect the CIA’s ability to conduct intelligence activities in the future. That’s the issue here, and it’s an important one.”

Mrs. Plame contends in court documents that the CIA released information about her work history in an unclassified letter about her retirement benefits. The letter, which the CIA says was sent inadvertently, was ultimately entered into the Congressional Record and says that Mrs. Plame worked at the CIA for more than 20 years.

The book deal for Mrs. Plame’s memoir, “Fair Game,” is widely thought to be worth seven figures. Lawyers asked a federal judge in New York to order the CIA to allow Mrs. Plame to print the information.

Lisa vs. Linda

Lisa De Pasquale of the American Conservative Union is dismayed by a column in which conservative commentator Linda Chavez called opponents of the Senate immigration bill “xenophobes” who “just don’t like Mexicans.”

“Does she seriously believe this?” Miss De Pasquale asks in the Right Angle blog at HumanEvents.com. “Many conservatives (myself included) went to bat for Linda when she was nominated for Labor secretary. She was then forced to withdraw her name over criticism that she had allowed an illegal immigrant to stay in her home. It seems that we were wrong to jump to her defense.

“Many of us viewed it as an isolated incident because she was just helping a (supposed) battered woman in need. Now it seems as if it is actually a part of her philosophy on the rule of law and our country’s borders. Regarding Chavez’s critics then, I wrote, ‘when you can’t go after the policies, go after the person.’ This time, Chavez is doing just that.”

Newt vs. Karl

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blames White House political adviser Karl Rove for many of the woes of the Republican Party, according to the latest issue of the New Yorker.

“Not since Watergate, Gingrich said, has the Republican Party been in such desperate shape. ‘Let me be clear: 28 percent approval of the president, losing every closely contested Senate seat except one, every one that involved an incumbent — that’s a collapse. I mean, look at the Northeast. You can’t be a governing national party and write off entire regions.’

“For this disarray, he blames not only Iraq and Hurricane Katrina but also Karl Rove’s ‘maniacally dumb’ strategy in 2004, which left Bush with no political capital. ‘All he proved was that the anti-Kerry vote was bigger than the anti-Bush vote,’ Gingrich said. He continued, ‘The Bush people deliberately could not bring themselves to wage a campaign of choice” — of ideology, of suggesting that Kerry was ‘to the left of Ted Kennedy‘ — and chose instead to attack Kerry’s war record.”

Freeh’s favorite

Republican presidential front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani was endorsed yesterday by Louis J. Freeh, whose eight-year tenure as FBI director was marked by a long-running feud with President Clinton.

Mr. Freeh offered his endorsement as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton widened her lead over fellow Democratic presidential candidates and over Mr. Giuliani in New York. The latest poll has her leading Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, 52 percent to 39 percent. She had just a five-point lead in April, the Associated Press reports.

The Freeh endorsement is viewed by supporters as a boost to Mr. Giuliani’s image as a strong leader against terrorism and crime in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Rudy Giuliani’s optimistic leadership is responsible for making the city of New York what it is today, one of the safest largest cities in the country and a place where the world feels safe to visit,” Mr. Freeh said prior to a press conference.

“No one knows better than Louis Freeh what it takes to fight crime,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Mr. Freeh, who lives in Wilmington, Del., also will serve as senior homeland security adviser for Mr. Giuliani’s campaign and will head the candidate’s Delaware campaign.

Corzine lawsuit

The New Jersey Republican Party chairman sued Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday to force the release of e-mails between the governor and a state union leader he once dated and lavished with gifts.

Republican Party chief Tom Wilson said he particularly wants messages that Mr. Corzine and his staff exchanged with Carla Katz, the leader of a state workers union, during recent state employee contract talks.

“The people have a right to know whether or not his personal relationship with Ms. Katz unduly or inappropriately influenced Jon Corzine’s actions,” Mr. Wilson said.

Mr. Corzine’s office has denied public-records requests by Republicans and news outlets for the e-mails, claiming they’re private.

Miss Katz, who declined to comment, is president of Communications Workers of America Local 1034, the largest state workers union chapter, representing 8,000 state government employees.

The contract, which Miss Katz opposed, increased salaries but cut health and pension benefits for state workers.

Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley referred comment to Joseph Cryan, the state Democratic Party chairman, who criticized the litigation as “an act of political voyeurism wrapped up in a meaningless lawsuit.”

Betting on Nevada

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama yesterday shrugged off rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s support in Nevada, arguing that he’ll enjoy the same success in attracting the state’s rural voters as he did back home in Illinois.

The first-term senator also had kind words for one of Nevada’s top industries — gambling.

Nevada “has done a terrific job of regulating the industry,” Mr. Obama said in a brief interview with the Associated Press. “It has become a major growth engine, and I think other people from other states — including my mother-in-law — love to come here.”

The candidate met with state lawmakers and campaigned in Nevada, which is second in the primary-calendar lineup with caucuses on Jan. 19. He answered a few questions as he greeted patrons at the Comma Coffee shop in Carson City, located across from the state Legislature.

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]m.

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