By MARC McDONALD
Let me see if I understand this correctly:
Court papers say that George W. Bush authorized Dick Cheney's former top aide to divulge classified intelligence data to a New York Times reporter in an effort to defend Bush's decision to go war against Iraq.
A newspaper in New York City broke this story on Thursday.
No, The New York Times didn't break this story. It was another newspaper in New York City.
Something called The New York Sun.
What's even more bizarre is that The Sun is a hard-core conservative paper, along the lines of The Washington Times.
How is it that The New York Times would let itself be scooped by its much smaller New York City rival---especially on a story of Watergate-like magnitude? After all, The New York Times fancies itself as America's "newspaper of record." And, in any case, it has vastly more resources, reporters, and clout than the Sun.
I'd suspect that in the end, the whole LeakGate story is one that The New York Times just wishes would go away.
After all, no matter how The New York Times' head honchos try to spin it, the whole Judith Miller mess is an enormous black mark on the paper's once lofty reputation.
It's a shame that The New York Times hasn't devoted much attention to LeakGate, particularly when you consider the enormous amount of attention the paper gave to Whitewater (a story that the Times broke in a massive investigative series in 1992).
After all, LeakGate is a real story---one of the biggest White House scandals in decades---whereas Whitewater turned out to be a complete non-story. Even Ken Starr eventually admitted that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons in the Whitewater affair.
Unfortunately for The New York Times---and the Bush administration----I'd suspect that LeakGate isn't a story that's going to go away any time soon.