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Scrimgeour Administration Won’t Fire Umbridge over Snape Outing

Scandal! Umbridge outs Snape as spy!

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Scrimgeour Administration Won't Fire Umbridge over Snape Outing

LONDON—Percy Weasley, spokeswizard for the Scrimgeour administration, said yesterday that the Minister of Magic “is as eager as everyone else” for the outcome of the investigation of the outing of Severus Snape. Snape, who had been under deep cover posing as a member of the “Death Eaters” organisation allegedly headed by über-Dark Lord. . . well, you know, was recently identified as a spy in an article by journalist Rita Skeeter, published by this newspaper on 29 June (see “Mission to Hogsmeade,” 29 June 1997, p. 2).

Some have called for the ouster of Ministry Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge, whose role in Snape’s exposure is unclear. Critics of the administration charge that Umbridge outed Snape to Skeeter in retaliation for the late Albus Dumbledore’s criticism of the Ministry’s handling of the “war on the Dark Arts”. Snape, formerly a teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was known to be a close associate and supporter of Dumbledore, who was Headmaster of the school until his untimely death last week. The circumstances surrounding Dumbledore’s death are still under investigation.

When news of the outing first broke, Minister Scrimgeour vowed to “immediately fire any witch or wizard involved in leaking information”. However, according to a source close to the investigation, when Skeeter testified yesterday to the Wizengamot that she had gotten Snape’s name from Umbridge, Scrimgeour told reporters that he would only fire Umbridge if she were “convicted of a crime”. The exposure of a spy, a crime punishable by seven years in Azkaban Prison, is notoriously hard to prosecute because it must be proved that the accused knew, when revealing the spy’s identity, that the spy was under cover.

Ministry supporters claim that Umbridge didn’t know Snape was under cover. “Anyway, she never gave Skeeter Snape’s name,” Weasley said at a press conference early this morning. “She simply identified him as ‘a former Potions Master, recently teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, whose initials are S.S.’. Clearly, the evidence exonerates Madam Umbridge. Members of the so-called ‘Order of the Phoenix’ are just on a . . . well, I hate to use the term, but on a witch-hunt. It’s downright unwizardriotic to use character assassination to attempt to undermine the Ministry during this difficult time,” he added.

The Wizengamot is said to be considering the application of Veritaserum to Umbridge, a move Weasley said would be “vigorously opposed” by the administration. “Dolores Umbridge is a really delightful woman with years of faithful Ministry service. It would be an outrage if she were subjected to the indignity of this extreme method of interrogation,” he said.

Skeeter has kept quiet about what she told the Wizengamot. It is unclear how she has avoided prosecution in the matter, however there is speculation that she agreed to reveal her sources to authorities in exchange for immunity. A reporter for alternative newspaper The Quibbler is currently serving a 90-day term in Azkaban for refusing to turn over his notes to the Wizengamot. The Quibbler never ran the story the reporter had been working on because, according to editor Xenophilius Lovegood, the paper “had just broken the story about former Hobgoblins lead singer Stubby Boardman’s engagement to the much-younger Quidditch star Gwenog Jones, which is clearly more important to our readers than any story about wizarding security.”

This is a short satirical piece I wrote after finishing Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It is the first real piece of fanfic I ever wrote, and was distributed only to friends for their edification and amusement.

By way of explanation, my reading of Book Six coincided with the so-called “Valerie Plame affair” here in the U.S.

Wikipedia sums it up thusly:

The phrase Plame Affair. . . refers to the identification of Valerie Plame Wilson as a covert Central Intelligence Agency officer. Mrs. Wilson’s relationship with the CIA was formerly classified information. The disclosure was made in a newspaper column entitled “Mission to Niger” written by Robert Novak, and published on July 14, 2003.

Mrs. Wilson’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, has stated his opinion in various interviews and subsequent writings. . . that members of former President George W. Bush’s administration revealed Mrs. Wilson’s covert status as retribution for his op-ed entitled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” published in The New York Times on July 6, 2003.

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Excerpt

Scrimgeour Administration Won't Fire Umbridge over Snape Outing

LONDON—Percy Weasley, spokeswizard for the Scrimgeour administration, said yesterday that the Minister of Magic “is as eager as everyone else” for the outcome of the investigation of the outing of Severus Snape. Snape, who had been under deep cover posing as a member of the “Death Eaters” organisation allegedly headed by über-Dark Lord. . . well, you know, was recently identified as a spy in an article by journalist Rita Skeeter, published by this newspaper on 29 June (see “Mission to Hogsmeade,” 29 June 1997, p. 2).

Some have called for the ouster of Ministry Undersecretary Dolores Umbridge, whose role in Snape’s exposure is unclear. Critics of the administration charge that Umbridge outed Snape to Skeeter in retaliation for the late Albus Dumbledore’s criticism of the Ministry’s handling of the “war on the Dark Arts”. Snape, formerly a teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was known to be a close associate and supporter of Dumbledore, who was Headmaster of the school until his untimely death last week. The circumstances surrounding Dumbledore’s death are still under investigation.

When news of the outing first broke, Minister Scrimgeour vowed to “immediately fire any witch or wizard involved in leaking information”. However, according to a source close to the investigation, when Skeeter testified yesterday to the Wizengamot that she had gotten Snape’s name from Umbridge, Scrimgeour told reporters that he would only fire Umbridge if she were “convicted of a crime”. The exposure of a spy, a crime punishable by seven years in Azkaban Prison, is notoriously hard to prosecute because it must be proved that the accused knew, when revealing the spy’s identity, that the spy was under cover.

Ministry supporters claim that Umbridge didn’t know Snape was under cover. “Anyway, she never gave Skeeter Snape’s name,” Weasley said at a press conference early this morning. “She simply identified him as ‘a former Potions Master, recently teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, whose initials are S.S.’. Clearly, the evidence exonerates Madam Umbridge. Members of the so-called ‘Order of the Phoenix’ are just on a . . . well, I hate to use the term, but on a witch-hunt. It’s downright unwizardriotic to use character assassination to attempt to undermine the Ministry during this difficult time,” he added.

The Wizengamot is said to be considering the application of Veritaserum to Umbridge, a move Weasley said would be “vigorously opposed” by the administration. “Dolores Umbridge is a really delightful woman with years of faithful Ministry service. It would be an outrage if she were subjected to the indignity of this extreme method of interrogation,” he said.

Skeeter has kept quiet about what she told the Wizengamot. It is unclear how she has avoided prosecution in the matter, however there is speculation that she agreed to reveal her sources to authorities in exchange for immunity. A reporter for alternative newspaper The Quibbler is currently serving a 90-day term in Azkaban for refusing to turn over his notes to the Wizengamot. The Quibbler never ran the story the reporter had been working on because, according to editor Xenophilius Lovegood, the paper “had just broken the story about former Hobgoblins lead singer Stubby Boardman’s engagement to the much-younger Quidditch star Gwenog Jones, which is clearly more important to our readers than any story about wizarding security.”