Worse than Watergate?

Ken Mehlman can say that the charge against Karl Rove is simply a partisan attack, but his predecessor at the RNC sure thought that outing a CIA agent was serious business.

Published July 13, 2005 12:53PM (EDT)

Ken Mehlman, the current chairman of the Republican National Committee, says that anyone who complains about the outing of a CIA agent is simply following the lead of the "far-left, MoveOn wing" of the Democratic Party." His predecessor seems to have had a different view.

As noted at Daily Kos, in September 2003, then-RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie told Hardball's Chris Matthews that "to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative -- it's abhorrent and it should be a crime, and it is a crime." When Matthews asked if such an action wouldn't be "worse than Watergate," Gillespie seemed to agree: "It's -- yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It's not just politics."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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