Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Leaker

I’m going to go out on a limb here and posit that the person who leaked classified information to the New York Times was Margaret Hooper.

Who?

Well, unless you haven’t been paying attention to The West Wing, you’d know that someone told reporter Greg Brock that the United States has a secret military space shuttle that was used to repair a leak in the International Space Station and save the lives of the three occupants.

The mystery of who leaked this information has been a subplot on the series since last spring, in a way paralleling the real White House’s problem with the Valerie Plame case. The scrutiny thus far has fallen on Chief of Staff C.J. Cregg, who was torn between keeping the secret and rescuing the astronauts, and Communications Director Toby Ziegler, whose late brother David was an astronaut. They have both been interviewed by the FBI and the leak has now come under the pervue of the House of Representatives.

Ms. Hooper is the secretary to the Chief of Staff and therefore would be privy to this knowledge. In addition, Ms. Hooper has in the past demonstrated a casual relationship with the strict rule of law; at one point she offered to forge the president’s signature on an important document. Ms. Hooper is scheduled to testify before the committee in the near future.

On a more practical level — that being one where the realities of TV series storytelling come in to play — Ms. Hooper is the most likely suspect in that the actor who plays her, NiCole Robinson, has never been listed in the main screen credits of the program; she’s been an integral character but she’s always listed as a “guest star.” Therefore, in the hierarchy of TV credits, she is expendable. (That would also rule out National Security Advisor Kate Harper, played by Mary McCormack. She made the credit roll this season.) Also, in the teaser of the season-opening episode, we saw the staff of the Bartlet White House three years in the future gathered to dedicate the opening of the Bartlet Presidential Library, and both Ms. Cregg and Mr. Ziegler were there and in the good graces of the former president. If either of them had been the leaker, they would not have been invited; they’d probably still be in jail.

If I’m right, you heard it here first. If not, well…it’s only a TV show.

Update – 8:56 p.m.: – Oops. Sorry, Margaret.