Some people contend that the law must always be enforced. Nothing could be further from the truth. The exact opposite is the reality of the situation. No society can survive if a hyper legalistic approach to the law is the norm. Every prosecutor must occasionally take a chill pill and cut some slack. If nothing else, many statutes remain on the books that have not been enforced for years. A number may even contradict each other. Prudence is mandatory. The spirit of the law must dominate its letter. This is especially true when dealing with matters as nebulous as state secrets. Daniel Patrick Moynihan blasted the temptation of intelligence agencies to even classify information that was readily available in our daily newspapers.
Patrick Fitzgerald foolishly decided to investigate, in a nitpicky manner, whether anyone might have violated the somewhat vague statutes concerning espionage. He wanted everything to be either all black or white. Every “i” was to be dotted, every “t” had to be crossed, and no shades of gray were to be allowed. Somebody inevitably was going to be prosecuted. Scooter Libby may very well feel like a victim in a Franz Kafka nightmare. Tomorrow, it might be our turn.