Everybody is weighing in on this, e.g. Instapundit here. So I won’t repeat anything.
My one potentially novel idea is this. Republicans in Congress should open an investigation of Newsweek, to determine who leaked this, what the basis was for the leak, what the motive was for the leak. If there is some basis of truth in it, we should know that. If not, we should find out who is responsible for this, and if they are government employees who circulated a lie, they should be disciplined. An appropriate committee should subpoena Isikoff and his colleagues. Make them produce all emails, notes, correspondence, telephone records. We may well find that the motive for this was partisan damage to the President. That is what I would bet on. Whatever the actual facts may be, they need to be extracted and put out in clear daylight. The people involved should be questioned in a public hearing. All persons identified as involved in this action should be similarly subpoenaed and compelled to appear and testify under oath. If Isikoff says he has a privilege to protect his sources he should be held in contempt of Congress and punished.
This is needed. We need to get to the bottom of this. The United States has just suffered a global strategic defeat akin to Abu Ghraib, and many people have lost their lives, and many more will in the future, probably all based on a complete lie.
The political advantage here is that it would put the Democrats in the position of opposing the investigation and being seen as the protector of a news media that is irresponsible, partisan and destructive. Good. Let them be associated with this.
This story must not be allowed to die down. The news media will try to bury it. But it should bury them.
UPDATE II: Some commenters questioned whether a Congressional investigation was appropriate in this case. Take a look at this report, prepared by the Congressional Research Service, entitled Congressional Investigations:
Subpoenas and Contempt Power.
Although the congressional power to investigate is not expressly provided for
in the Constitution, the framers understood that legislatures must oversee the
executive branch. Under British precedents, lawmakers were expected to hold
administrators accountable. James Wilson, one of the framers and later a Justice on
the Supreme Court, expected the House of Representatives to “form the grand
inquest of the state. They will diligently inquire into grievances, arising both from
men and things.” In an essay in 1774, he described members of the British House
of Commons as “grand inquisitors of the realm. The proudest ministers of the
proudest monarchs have trembled at their censures; and have appeared at the bar of
the house, to give an account of their conduct, and ask pardon for their faults.”
Congress has sweeping investigative powers, and always has, and that is how it was meant to be. It is not meant to only have a legislative function, but to have a supervisory function over the executive branch, and it has always had the power to issue subpoenas to government officials and to private citizens to compel production of documents and attendance at hearings.
Also, the comments show that I was not clear. I don’t want Newsweek to be the focus of the investigation. I agree that they will likely be punished in the marketplace for this activity. I want the Newsweek people called as witnesses. The point is to investigate the government’s own people, to find out if (1) the allegations have any truth to them, or (2) if not, determine who said these things and why did they say them and penalize them appropriately.
UPDATE III: Wow a Salon-A-Lanche. Cool, I guess. All I can say is, read the post, since the guy on Salon got some of it wrong. If you still think I’m totally nuts, please feel free to excoriate me, politely, in the comments.