Okay, so you know how Fred Thompson — the actor/politician who may or may not be running for the Republican presidential nomination in ’08 — earned his rep as part of the team that was investigating the Watergate scandal? Turns out, he was a mole for the Nixon White House while that was going on. (h/t Crooks and Liars)
According to the Boston Globe:
Thompson tipped off the White House that the committee knew about the taping system and would be making the information public. In his all-but-forgotten Watergate memoir, “At That Point in Time,” Thompson said he acted with “no authority” in divulging the committee’s knowledge of the tapes, which provided the evidence that led to Nixon’s resignation. It was one of many Thompson leaks to the Nixon team, according to a former investigator for Democrats on the committee, Scott Armstrong , who remains upset at Thompson’s actions.
The Boston Globe article goes into the spin Thompson is putting on this — how he just didn’t want to believe the President could be guilty of everything they were accusing him of — but that doesn’t change the fact that what he did was deeply unethical.
Fred Thompson was and apparently is an attorney – he doesn’t just play one on TV. Probably the number one rule of lawyering is that you don’t go telling your side’s secrets to the opposing party in the middle of a dispute without the okay of whoever is in charge on your side.
The American Bar Association (and every single state bar in the country) has rules forbidding this sort of thing. Similarly, there are all sorts of rules governing the operations of grand juries, special prosecutors, and yes, congressional investigating committees, covering the disclosure of information to subjects under investigation.
You just don’t do it. Never. No matter how much you want to believe that the person under investigation is innocent. Not even if you know for a fact that he is innocent of whatever he’s being charged with. You just let the proceedings unfold, and assume that the evidence will reveal the truth of the matter.
You do not tip off the party you are investigating.
Yet Fred Thompson did.
So we now know that Fred Thompson has engaged in deeply unethical behavior in the past, in connection with presidential politics. Where is the outcry over the fact that this man is apparently contemplating running for the highest office of the land?
If he were thinking of running as a Democrat, this would, of course, sink his chances. But since he will be running as a Republican (assuming he does run), well, not so much. Ain’t America great?
And by the way, I also think that Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.