On Fox News Sunday, liberal commentator and NPR correspondent Juan Williams praised fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy, claiming that what she did was an "an act of honor."
Williams got into an argument with Brit Hume and host Chris Wallace. William Kristol later jumped in.
BRIT HUME: That is not an exercise simply of First Amendment rights. This was a violation of her oath and her responsibility.
CHRIS WALLACE: All right. I'm going to...
JUAN WILLIAMS: Let me -- no, let me...
CHRIS WALLACE: No, no, no. No.
WILLIAMS: Let me just quickly respond.
Brit, she took a risk. She was very aware of what she had signed. She is now bearing the cost of having broken that pledge.
WALLACE: So this is an act of conscience?
WILLIAMS: And so in that sense, yes, I do believe it's an act of honor.
WALLACE: And if it's an act of conscience, then why did she do it surreptitiously?
WALLACE: Why did she do it surreptitiously?
WILLIAMS: She did it because she wanted to get the word out.
HUME: Why didn't she just walk out, stand on the street corner, and pass it out?
WILLIAMS: She could have, but she had a reporter...
HUME: But she didn't.
WILLIAMS: ... that she had a relationship with.
HUME: I know why she didn't. She didn't because that way she would have become known. She wanted to do it and not get caught. That's why.
William Kristol said there have been others who quit and then publicly denounced Bush administration policies, and that Mary McCarthy should have done the same. Williams did not respond to Kristol's point, but instead attacked the secret prisons.
WILLIAMS: The United States should not be engaged -- I mean, you can have the argument about what we need to do to combat terrorism.
But the establishment of secret prisons -- and if she felt that this was a violation of our principles as a country and was untenable in terms of her conscience working for the U.S. government, why shouldn't she act?
WILLIAM KRISTOL: She should quit.
HUME: Well, she should quit, then.
WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know what she did -- what her decision was...
HUME: She didn't quit. She just got canned.
WILLIAMS: It doesn't have to be that she could quit. She could say you know what, I just want to get this information out any way I can. And she did, and now she's in trouble for it. She's bearing the cost, there's no question.
WALLACE: Please address all of your letters to Juan Williams.