The case for outing the Plame leakers.

The thinking behind the news.
July 12 2005 4:33 PM

The Anonymity Trap

Norm Pearlstine didn't go far enough.

(Continued from Page 1)

The argument against ever outing sources is instrumental. Insiders won't leak to the press if they can't rely on a reporter's pledge of confidentiality, the argument goes, and so the public's interest in discovering wrongdoing ultimately won't be served. This is mostly humbug. As most modern presidents have discovered, leakers are a hardy breed. They act from various motives, of which unalloyed public-spiritedness is probably the rarest. Outing the Plame leakers wouldn't undermine the use of confidential sources. It would merely put leakers on notice that their right to lie and manipulate the press is not absolute and not sacred.

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