June 19, 2012

I take issue with the June 14 editorial “Criminalizing leaks,” which claimed that “special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald pursued a lengthy, costly and ultimately counterproductive investigation” into who leaked to the media that Valerie Plame was a covert operative for the CIA.

Given the seriousness of the leak in question and its potential impact on national security, and given the widespread speculation in the media at the time — which turned out to be well founded — that the leak was done for political purposes, the investigation was surely justified. And given that the investigation identified three high-ranking administration officials — Scooter Libby, Karl Rove and Richard Armitage — who revealed this information to the media, it is hard to understand how the investigation could be deemed “counterproductive.”

That Mr. Libby was ultimately punished for lying about his role in this matter, as opposed to leaking the information itself, establishes little besides the well-known truism that the coverup is often far easier to prove than the crime.

Peter Zeidenberg, Glen Echo

The writer was an assistant special counsel to Patrick Fitzgerald and was on the Scooter Libby trial team.