Fox News contributor and conservative radio host Monica Crowley today attempted to dismiss the Department of Justice investigation into potential disclosures of classified national security information by calling into question one of the investigation's prosecutors, Ron Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Crowley also absolved the Bush administration of its proven efforts to leak the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame while declaring President Obama guilty of the possible leaks before the investigation has been completed.
In an appearance on the Fox "straight news" program America's Newsroom, Crowley tried to dismiss the DOJ investigation by discrediting Machen. She pointed out that Machen has donated a "couple of thousand dollars" to the Obama campaign over the years and claimed that his donations "[tell] you that his motivation is going to be political because his loyalty is with President Obama" and that "he's either going to slow walk [the investigation] or bury it or blow it off entirely."
While Crowley acknowledged that Machen is one of two prosecutors appointed by the DOJ to investigate the possible leaks, she ignored that the other prosecutor, Rod Rosenstein, was a Republican nominee. Indeed, Rosenstein was confirmed as U.S. attorney in 2005, after being nominated by former President George W. Bush. She also ignored that Machen was unanimously confirmed as U.S. attorney in February 2010 and served in the DOJ as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1997 to 2001.
Crowley also attempted to downplay the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity by senior Bush administration officials while declaring the Obama administration guilty of leaking classified information before the investigation has concluded.
Crowley said that the Plame case "was essentially over nothing" and falsely claimed that Plame "was not even a covert operative." Crowley also dismissed the Plame affair as a "political witch hunt to try to knock Cheney and Scooter Libby and by extension President Bush." She then added that the possible national security leaks "had to have been either authorized or condoned by" Obama and that unlike the Plame leak, they "are actually endangering national security."
But as Media Matters has documented, the facts of the Plame affair belie Crowley's remarks. The Bush White House leaked the identity of Plame after her husband, Joe Wilson, published a 2003 New York Times op-ed questioning what Bush had said about Saddam Hussein's supposed efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. An investigation concluded that, contrary to Crowley's assertion, Plame was a covert operative whose cover was blown by senior Bush administration officials Rove, Libby, and Richard Armitage, and the leak compromised national security.