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Tilting at Windmills

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April 7, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CLASSIFIED LEAKS AS POLITICAL WEAPONS....Did George Bush authorize Scooter Libby to disclose classified information to the New York Times in 2003, as Libby alleges? Oddly enough, it turns out the White House isn't denying it:

A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation, said Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done. The official said Bush authorized the release of the classified information to assure the public of his rationale for war as it was coming under increasing scrutiny.

So Bush did know about the leak, and he did authorize it. What's more, his excuse is a simple one: he wanted to defend himself against attacks on his war policy, so it was OK.

That's exactly what happened, but it's remarkable that he's willing to admit it. Basically, Bush is saying that it's all right for him to selectively leak classified information whenever he feels it would help him politically.

Are conservatives OK with this? Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they're under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents? Even Richard Nixon didn't believe that (in 1960, anyway).

Kevin Drum 11:48 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (95)

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But "conservatives" have already established what they are comfortable with - whatever George Bush says. He is king, so he can classify, declassify, wiretap, dewiretap, invade, uninvade, whenever he wants, and we just have to like it.

Because, you know, 911 shredded the Constitution, er, changed everything.

Posted by: craigie on April 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Of course "conservatives" are not okay with this. But wingnuts are all for anything Chimpy says or does.

Frist?

Posted by: Ace Franze on April 7, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I gotta go, but I warn you, the trolls are out in full force today. They must see the house of cards about to collapse, and are desperately trying to hold back the wind.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

"Are conservatives OK with this? Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they're under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents?"

If by "presidents" you mean "Republican presidents" and by "opponents" you mean "Democrats", then yeah, they are probably ok with it.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on April 7, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

LOL. "Are conservatives ok with this?" Funny. Conservative is anyone who agrees with George Bush. We've already firmly established that. (Ask Bruce Bartlet, Andrew Sullivan, etc...)

You can't have an honest policy debate with someone whose goal is not policy but politics.

Posted by: IMU on April 7, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Kevin.

How do you feel about censure now?

Posted by: alligator on April 7, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

David in NY: I gotta go, but I warn you, the trolls are out in full force today. They must see the house of cards about to collapse, and are desperately trying to hold back the wind.

It really is quite a sound and light show they're putting on. I haven't seen this much desperation since...well, maybe never. Clearly there was an "all hands" call.

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

A caller to a discussion show this morning asked this: "Why did the White House authorize a multi-million dollar investigation by a special prosecutor if they knew all along what had happened and that, because the information was declassified or declassifiable by the President, there nothing to investigate?"

Posted by: PW on April 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

What craigie said.

Posted by: Gregory on April 7, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

And, PW, one can well wonder why the declassification was, um, classified.

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 7, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hitting new lows.

And this was even before the news of Libby's claims that the Pres and VP authorized his leaks.

Posted by: Butch on April 7, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

CLASSIFIED LEAKS AS POLITICAL WEAPONS

How is whitleblowing Joe Wilson as a liar using leaks as a political weapon? This is whitleblowing not politics.

Posted by: Al on April 7, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

But Nixon did come around, and realize that anything a (Republican) President does is not only inherently legal, but right and glorious.

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on April 7, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Alberto Gonzales said the President could declassify information if he thought it was in the best interest of the country. Clearly, Bush thought that his winning the election was in the best interest of the country. By this logic, of course, he can do just about anything for political purposes and believe that it was justified. And you just thought Nixon was bad. All hail King George...

Posted by: exgop on April 7, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, "The Madness of King George" was a movie about some other king, right? I suddenly seem dizzy...

Posted by: craigie on April 7, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. F., I think there's a whole layer of felonious behavior in the people's house we don't know about. Looking forward to watching the trolls shrivel and float away, their little island of self-satisfaction and ignorance sink under the waves.

Posted by: PW on April 7, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

George W. Bush as whistleblower.

hahahahhahahaha. oh man. that's a good one!

face it, Dubya's going down in history as one of our shadiest presidents. He'll take his rightful place next to Nixon in the hearts and minds of Americans for years to come.

Posted by: Librul on April 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

What PW said. Is there a Repub somewhere who gets kickbacks for investigations?
And why would a fine Christian like Mr. Bush say he would fire the leaker when it was him if it were legal?
I'm beggining to think that maybe he's not such a fine Christian, afterall.

Posted by: merlallen on April 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Al still loves him. He doesn't love him enough to enlist, though.

Posted by: merlallen on April 7, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Wow - that's as fucked up a definition of "whistleblowing" as I've ever heard.

Take a clue, Al - whistleblowing normally involves someone revealing wrongdoing on the part of government or a company. Usually at significant risk to their careers. Somehow I don't think an Administration insider (Libby)using "instant declassification" to selectively release information in an attempt to undercut a critic and then lieing to federal agents and a grand jury about it quite fits the definition.

Posted by: Butch on April 7, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

"How is whitleblowing Joe Wilson as a liar using leaks as a political weapon? This is whitleblowing not politics."

Al,
I wasn't aware that Wilson was a liar, at least with respect to the issue of yellowcake uranium. Link please?

If Bush is a phoney whistleblower and authorized a leak to libel somebody, then he has abused his power.

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 7, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if his repostings pasted in another thread are any indication, tbrosz is clearly on record that leaking classified information as a political weapon is a terrible thing to do.

Posted by: trex on April 7, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

trexie: Well, if his repostings pasted in another thread are any indication, tbrosz is clearly on record that leaking classified information as a political weapon is a terrible thing to do.

There is no action so vile that the Democratic counterpart isn't viler!

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it may be bad, but for god's sake at least it wasn't a blow job!

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on April 7, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, 20+ comments, and aside from the Al-bot, nobody wants to justify the Cult of Bush?

C'mon guys - or are you still waiting for the mimeograph sheets to dry, before you know what to say?

Posted by: craigie on April 7, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

So, "The Madness of King George" was a movie about some other king, right?

Well, but is it? Do you not remember the scene in which he runs around the castle in his dirty nightshirt, gibbering, grimacing and choking on pretzels?

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

So Bush did know about the leak, and he did authorize it.

It seems pretty clear from the WaPo article, but I'd really like to see a direct quote from that senior administration official, because...

Cheney had declassification authority as of March 2003. Fitzgerald's most recent filing is strongly suggestive, but still ambigious, as to whether statements to Libby: (1) Cheney was referring to a specific statement made by the President authorizing a specific action; or (2) Cheney was speaking generally as an individual with authority delegated by the President to authorize such actions.

...Cheney could still be made the fall guy on this one.

Posted by: has407 on April 7, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Out of fairness I recall that Bush did vow he would get to the bottom of this.

And he has. He was the one at the bottom all along.

So at least Bush keeps his word.

I think this is called looking for a raisin in a turd.

Posted by: Tripp on April 7, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Even Matt Lauer, who's not exactly my idea of a hard-hitting journalist, spotted a problem on The Today Show this morning: he asked (I'm paraphrasing), "If they really wanted to honestly rebut bad information, why leak it? Why not trumpet the information loudly?"

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 7, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they're under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents?

The selective "disclosure" is what makes this so Un-Christian. George Bush is a dirty hypocrite lying cheating scoundrel with a unibrow. And he smells! like corn chips and carob.

Posted by: enozinho on April 7, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

From a Dubya speech presented in the sidebar of the WaPo article Kevin Drum linked to:

QUESTION: You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. If I were a woman, you'd like to restrict my opportunity to make a choice and decision about whether I can abort a pregnancy on my own behalf. You are...
BUSH: I'm not your favorite guy. Go ahead. (Laughter and applause.) Go on, what's your question?
QUESTION: Okay, I don't have a question. What I wanted to say to you is that I -- in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by my leadership in Washington, including the presidency, by the Senate, and...
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Booo!
BUSH: No, wait a sec -- let him speak.
QUESTION: And I would hope -- I feel like despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration, and I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself inside yourself.

The aspens are turning, yes indeedy...

Posted by: grape_crush on April 7, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

What was amusing / pathetic this morning was the on Diane Rehm the GOP guy trotted out the Joe Wilson was a liar schtic again.

And of course used the addendum to the Senate report (which the Dems didn' concur on) to do it.

Joe Wilson claimed that Cheney had been briefed, etc.

What they of course never address is ? How likely would it be that Cheney's office didn't know what was happening about Iraqi intelligence in the run up to the war? You know the war that they had been obsessing about for years?

Not bloody likely. Joe Wilson wasn't lying - he's pointing out the obvious. Cheney's office clearly knew.

We might not be able to prove it right now. But it doesn't make sense that they wouldn't have.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on April 7, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush is a dirty hypocrite lying cheating scoundrel with a unibrow. And he smells! like corn chips and carob.

Dang funny!

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

There is no action so vile that the Democratic counterpart isn't viler!

Yes, that's been his one consolation during this endless run of incomparable Republican scandals, that in the world of Forms there exists an Ethereal form of Democratic scandal that's by nature "worse" than any actual manifestation of Republican wrongdoing.

Apparently he is a neo-Platonist in addition to being a neo-con.


Posted by: trex on April 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I think the dirty little whitehouse secret is that Chaney never gave Bush the professional courtesy of clearing it with him before Chaney told Libby to leak the documents to the press. Chaney did this because: 1) he didn't need "permission" after George issued the executive order authorizing the VP to declassify info early in his presidency, and 2) Chaney does whatever the f*ck he wants.

Posted by: Jon Karak on April 7, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

"How is whitleblowing Joe Wilson as a liar using leaks as a political weapon? This is whitleblowing not politics."

In an ethical Christian world, you present your case and prove the individual is a liar. In the Bush and Muslim world you destroy women and children in revenge!

Posted by: AluminumKen on April 7, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Al:

What exactly did Joe Wilson lie about ? (Please dont start yammering about how he lied about how Dick Cheney sent him).

Oh and I'm still waiting for you to answer the question about how many Allied troops were killed in Europe after V-E Day and in Japan after V-J day...

Posted by: JohnM on April 7, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

1) When we have the impeachment, can we arrange something like a joint impeachment so that George can sit next to Mr. Cheney, like the last time he testified? That would be so precious - it could be our gift to future generations of American History students.

2) We need to start a new meme among Republicans: their sole chance for hanging on to power is to persuade Bush & Cheney to resign and then get some respected, competent, and honest republicans into the White House so they can run as the trusted incumbents in 2008.

3) (Wait until after B&C have resigned to point out that there aren't any respected, competent, and honest Republicans.)

Posted by: N.Wells on April 7, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

So if Bush decided to go on national television and release the launch codes for our newkyulur warheads or gives out military secrets it's ok? No, of course it isn't.

The b*st*rd has been lying to us for years on this issue. He needs to step down.

Posted by: MrEMan on April 7, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bush, Cheney and the GOP as a whole are nothing more then a pile of dog doo. Those that back them are the same.

Posted by: Earl on April 7, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

In an ethical Christian world, you present your case and prove the individual is a liar.

I've been to Ethical Christian World. It's just off the 101 freeway, north of Los Angeles. You can spot it by the Clear Channel "In God We Trust" billboard marking it's entrance.

Posted by: enozinho on April 7, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Go back in your archives, Drum.

You yourself claim leaks are GOOD.

If memory serves - which it may not - Drum made this argument a couple of months ago, maybe 3 months ago.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 7, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The reports yesterday say that Plame's name was disclosed in a July 2003 column by Robert Novak and that Libby said Cheney said Bush said it was ok -- i.e. Bush declassified it.

Fine. Let's assume that the President can declassify things at will.

However, back up 10 months to when Judy Miller co-published an article called "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts". This article anticipated, by a month, all the key judgements of the intelligence agencies about Iraq's nuclear program that went into the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.

Libby is saying that the leak of the NIE document in September 2002 was authorized by Bush. Not the leak of Plame's name. Fitzgerald looked into stories filed by Miller and found that her 9/2002 article parrots the still-classified, unseen-by-congress NIE documents.

That set off an alarm.

Fitzgerald now knows for sure that Miller is an administration-run mole at the NYT. He had probably heard scuttlebutt about Libby and Miller vis a vis their close relationship. He sees proof that Miller has been leaked classified information in the run-up to the war. He is now assured that Miller is an agitprop conduit for Libby and Cheney. He checks Miller and Libby's phone records. He then contacts Miller and says "I know you were given classified information about this whole Saddam/nuclear material angle back in 9/2002. I know congress didn't get that classified information until 10/2002. You got that information from Scooter Libby. Your phone records show calls before you printed your article. Your attachment to Libby is in cement, dear. Undoubtedly, Libby later contacted you about Plame. Let's talk about how and why you came to be an agent of Scooter Libby's."

And Miller doesn't want to be fully exposed for all of her stenography. She makes a deal that will help Fitzgerald nail Libby for sure on at least one count that is solely based on their July 2003 meetings. As a result, she gets to walk with regard to her previous Libby/Cheney directed agitprop.

But... can the president authorize the leak of classified information that hasn't even been presented to Congress? Information that, after it was leaked, was presented to Congress as classified? Can a president declassify information, then reclassify, then declassify it again?

Because that's what a president would have to do in order to claim that the NIE was not classified when Libby leaked it to Miller. She saw it in 9/2002, Congress saw it in 10/2002 and it was declassified in 6/2003.

It's just retarded to claim it was declassified when leaked to Miller, then reclassified for congress, then declassified in 6/2003.

Info cut-and-pasted from http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2006/4/6/182522/5719 and from http://www.crooksandliars.com/ .

Posted by: Not me on April 7, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares? The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper, right? And it's OLD. And it gets in the way of Bush's vision.

Posted by: me on April 7, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Google "Kevin + Drum + leaks + good" and you will can find Drums' post where he says leaks are good.

Here is Drum's quote: "Let me say this flatly: leaks are good."

Read the full post and you see what he MEANS, which is essentially any leaks which hurts Bush are good.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 7, 2006 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

In today's world, with our fredoms on the march to hell at the hands of a government run by corporate interests, it makes me a little sick to see the people self censoring. We all know these fuckers to whatever the fuck they want. If there was ever a bunch of people who deserve to be caller mother-fuckers, it's our current leadership. No f*ck about it, they are all fuckers!

Posted by: jake on April 7, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Drum is a sniveling hypocrite.

Posted by: Norman on April 7, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

You yourself claim leaks are GOOD.

This is not hard to understand. When you market a product, you emphasize the good, and deemphasize the bad. Example: "Nesquick, the healthy alternative to soda."

When you are selling, and defending a decision to got to war, it is not ethical or Christian to use this tactic. The Unethical, Un-Christian George Bush believes it is.

Posted by: enozinho on April 7, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Not me,
Which was sort of what I was saying earlier--if Bush wanted to discredit Wilson, why didn't he declassify Plame's status openly and broadcast it to the world (rather than keep the fact of the declassification classified). The fact that they had to do this smear on deep background shows that they knew they were walking on very thin and unpersuasive legality. That in itself refutes the GOP spin that the President can leak anything he wants to ('cept it wouldn't then be a leak, would it?).

Posted by: Mr. Flibble on April 7, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"You yourself claim leaks are GOOD."

"Leaks" by themselves are not inherently GOOD or BAD. When something illegal or immoral is secretly taking place, a leak revealing that action is generally a good thing. When equally classified information is leaked -- by those who decided to classify it, of all people -- for no reason other than to discredit an opponent, the leak is bad. If the information is pertinent to the administration's argument, and they want to use it, they should declassify it through normal channels. Not a difficult process.

It's like saying GUNS ARE BAD or GUNS ARE GOOD. I don't want criminals having guns, but I like the fact that, say, the Army has the scariest, coolest ones.

It's context, retard.

Posted by: eckersley on April 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

You know, while we hang out here dancing on the head of a pin, ever more horrendous bombings are taking place in Baghdad. We know who's responsible. But we're not making the Senate do its job.

Pat Roberts has ducked the issue because we let him. It's up to us to make sure Roberts and colleagues get the goods on Bush and join their constituents in doing something about stopping the lying and covering up and mayhem and death, all of which Bush is directly responsible for. No quibblings from trolls, no ineffective murmurings from liberals have done anything so far to stop the actual flow of actual blood.

Posted by: PW on April 7, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

> But "conservatives" have already established
> what they are comfortable with - whatever George
> Bush says. He is king, so he can classify,
> declassify, wiretap, dewiretap, invade, uninvade,
> whenever he wants, and we just have to like it.

Absolutely, 100.1% correct. There are no such things as "conservatives" as historically known anymore. Any person who calls himself such but does not, as of this instant, stand up and reject W's imperial presidency loudly and proudly reveals himself for what he is: a useful idiot for the Radicals. And I suspect 99.5% of them are.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on April 7, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Can a president declassify information, then reclassify, then declassify it again?

Well no, because that kind of arbitrary and capricioius use of power would make him a...king.

Posted by: trex on April 7, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

What did Wilson lie about?
His wife's status, his accurate mission report and his "response" to a memo he could not have seen.
Nixon was an idiot.
Bush is the ultimate authority on classification. Remember when Clinton ordered massive declassification and handed useful information to our enemies? By definition a leak is the unauthorized release of information by a subordinate.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on April 7, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

That would be "capricious."

Posted by: trex on April 7, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Read the full post and you see what he MEANS, which is essentially any leaks which hurts Bush are good.

Wrong, Kenneth. What Drum clearly meant is that leaks that expose mendacity by government officials are good. Bush has nothing to do with it except when he is being mendacious.

Posted by: exgop on April 7, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Alek Hidell at 12:19: Even Matt Lauer, who's not exactly my idea of a hard-hitting journalist, spotted a problem on The Today Show this morning: he asked (I'm paraphrasing), "If they really wanted to honestly rebut bad information, why leak it? Why not trumpet the information loudly?"

If, by "trumpet the information loudley, you mean go through the legal process and have the document declassified so everyone can see it, Glen Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory has the answer:

"Defendant understood that he was to tell Miller, among other things, that a key judgment of the NIE held that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium.

But as Eriposte points out, the passage Libby is referring to was NOT one of the key judgments contained in the NIE. Indeed, it was buried in the text of the document precisely because it was not thought to be particularly credible. And of course Libby neglected to tell Miller about the portions of the NIE that cast doubt on the uranium claim. In other words, not only does Libby claim that he was authorized to release cherry-picked portions of the NIE to Miller, but he claims he was told to misrepresent to Miller that those portions were "key judgments."


In other words, by selectivly releasing the portions of a classified document, without releasing the whole document as they would in normal declassifying procedure, they got to lie about what the document says without possibility of rebuttal. They didn't actually release a real secret, the "released" a lie about a secret document which supported their position.

This may be an entirely new class of lie, showing the members of this administration to be amoung the most proficient, creative liars of all time

Posted by: patrick on April 7, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Well, but is it? Do you not remember the scene in which he runs around the castle in his dirty nightshirt, gibbering, grimacing and choking on pretzels? Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:17 PM

That scene conjured up in my mind was hilarious. Thanks shortstop!

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

And how long before we see something like this happening on the White House lawn?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

A Bush the broken puppet game. Excellent stress relief, if a little creepy.

Posted by: Bruce the Canuck on April 7, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Can a president declassify information, then reclassify, then declassify it again?

Yes (start here).

However, the classification of the information in question didn't flip-flop.

Posted by: has407 on April 7, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

And here's the beauty part: The President is also allowed to eavesdrop on anyone, including his political opponents, in the name of national security, and then selectively disclose his findings to the public. Sweet!

Posted by: MaryLou on April 7, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Here comes the trolletariat! Not this person, 'tho:

N.Wells on April 7, 2006 at 12:35 PM:

can we arrange something like a joint impeachment so that George can sit next to Mr. Cheney, like the last time he testified?

Of course. Sock-puppet Dubya doesn't work unless someone has his hand inside of him...'Trigger Dick' needs to work on his Texas drawl, however.

their sole chance for hanging on to power is to persuade Bush & Cheney to resign

Oh, I'm sure if that hasn't crossed their minds already, it will shortly.

and then get some respected, competent, and honest republicans into the White House so they can run as the trusted incumbents in 2008.

The Tom DeLay strategy?...Be a victim of those liberals who control everything and take one for the team!

Wait until after B&C have resigned to point out that there aren't any respected, competent, and honest Republicans.

It it's true, then why wait?

Posted by: grape_crush on April 7, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Wrong, Kenneth. What Drum clearly meant is that leaks that expose mendacity by government officials are good. Bush has nothing to do with it except when he is being mendacious.

So then leaks exposing Joe Wilson's lies are good.

Thanks for the support, exgop!

Posted by: Al on April 7, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Do you not remember the scene in which he runs around the castle in his dirty nightshirt, gibbering, grimacing and choking on pretzels?

Too, too funny.

Posted by: craigie on April 7, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Google "Kevin + Drum + leaks + good" and you will can find Drums' post where he says leaks are good.

exgop said it. Drum was talking about whistleblowing as an exercise in the checks and balances system, a tactic for revealing information that's wrongly, or even illegally, walled off from public scrutiny.

Sure, there's a gray area, but with Bush we're not talking about whistleblowing at all. (It's hard to imagine how "whistleblowing" could even apply to somebody in Bush's position.) We're talking about the cavalier manipulation of state secrets to smear a political opponent. It'd be part of the toolkit for any up and coming Bolshevik, but last I heard, Americans aren't aspiring to that style of politics.

Posted by: sglover on April 7, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Are conservatives OK with this? Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they're under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents?

If the wingnut commenters in your grrlfriend Ann Althouse's blog is any indication, not only is this okay, they are heroes for doing so!

Posted by: jerry on April 7, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the link, has407. I skimmed through and found this:

Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations. (a) In no case shall information be classified in order to:

(1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

I wonder if any of those conditions might apply in the NIE or Plame matters.

Posted by: trex on April 7, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like the trolls got their marching orders: smear anyone who dares to bring this up.

Nice attacks on Kevin's credibility, instead of addressing the issues brought up by the post. Apparently conservatives are okay with this, as long as it's Publicans who are doing the declassifying.

I wonder if this sort of logic would stay in their pea-brains if Clinton had announced that any discussion of Monica Lewinsky was going to threaten national security, all documentation was now officially classified, things started getting removed from the White House archives, Publicans and other Democratic political enemies started getting targeted with unauthorized FISA warrants and FBI investigations, and anyone who brought the question up again was kicked out of the White House press corps and/or prosecuted for anti-american activities. Well, I don't really wonder about it, but I just thought that others might want to consider the question too.

Posted by: (: Tom :) on April 7, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, that provision doesn't prevent information from being selectively declassified for those prohibited purposes, so, on that provision at least, the Administration may escape strictly legal jeopardy.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

We're talking about leaks of info collected in the October 2002 NIE, the one some terrorsymp Senators asked for before the Iraq War Resolution vote, the one which was cobbled together in a hurry because up till then there existed no NIE on the Iraq WMD threat, the one which was partially declassified for public consumption (with all the so-called 'caveats' excised), the one that from its inception demonstrated definitively the president's willingness to use classified information as a domestic political cudgel, we're talking about that NIE, aren't we?

Posted by: notyou on April 7, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they're under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents?

Yes, but only if it endangers intelligence operations related to nuclear proliferation.

Posted by: Boronx on April 7, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Who cares? The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper, right? And it's OLD. And it gets in the way of Bush's vision.

This cracks me up, in a darkly humorous kind of way.

Uh, it was a joke, right?

Posted by: craigie on April 7, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

So, what's new here, hail King George the Third.

Posted by: jonathan on April 7, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Doc M and Stefan
OT
I finaly was able to respond to your posts back on "The Simmering Frog"

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, you certainly get a lower, stupider class of trolls here than on most other liberal blogs.

Posted by: Gus on April 7, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think anyone can seriously believe that the president has the authority to use the powers of the government to attack his political rivals. If you believe that, you believe he could audit the tax records of all donors to the Democratic party. He could've sent the FBI to investigate John Kerry and leak the findings to the public.

What really astounds me is that, if he did authorize the leaks, his reputation for loyalty is completely shot. He's arguing that he declassified national security documents, but then he let Rove and Libby take the fall anyway, just to cover his own ass.

Posted by: Mike on April 7, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

A whistleblower is an employee, former employee, or member of an organization who reports misconduct to people or entities that have the power to take corrective action. -- Wikipedia

So, then, by what standard is Bush a whistlblower? He is not an "employee, former employee, or member of an organization" -- he's the PRESIDENT, remember? He's the one in charge, for goodness sake.

Did he report "misconduct to people or entities that have the power to take corrective action"? No, he selectively released classified information to the press (through various intermediaries). Does anyone actually think that Judith Miller is(was) in a position to "take corrective action"? (She wasn't a whistleblower, either, BTW.)

Anyone who claims Bush/Cheney/Libby is a whistleblower is either insane or does not understand the English language. This is newspeak: War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.

I never thought I could hate anyone more than I hated Nixon. Turns out I was wrong.

Posted by: David in NYC on April 7, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the "law" we have established here is that anything goes in the name of national security. The end of the discussion. Anything. No checks, no balances.

Posted by: jonathan on April 7, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bush that lying little troll! Claims to not know squat for the last 3 years, wants to get to the bottom of it, will fire anyone responsible, and now suddenly admits it was him, and says it's OK!

Bush fire yourself! Both you and Cheney turn in your resignations now.

Posted by: K Smith on April 7, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Persons whom I will leave nameless keep referring to Joe Wilson's lies without giving any examples. Smears without evidence are simply ad hominem attacks and have zero logical value.

Posted by: exgop on April 7, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done."

Sounds suspiciously like Clinton's defense that oral sex isn't sex.

Posted by: treetop on April 7, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

You should get a load of today's press gaggle with Scotty and the gang. Can anyone make heads or tails of what he's saying? Shouldn't his mangling of logic and the English language be a capital crime, or at least a felony??

Posted by: The Germinator on April 7, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if the politicians can't leak to counter disinformation... how do you stop a rogue CIA agent from using leaks to manipulate policy?

How did Ms. Palme's husband become an operative without a non-disclosure agreement again?

Wasn't this the Vietnam problem, where the pro-war factions in the agency would leak Red Scare stuff to sabotage the Dems? And if this is right, I hope the Repubs seed faction who will leak, leak, leak terror attacks until the Dem foreign policy = neo-con foreign policy anyway.

Posted by: McA on April 7, 2006 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

exgop,go visit The Daily Howler. Somerby lays out the case for why Joe may not have been the best vehicle with which to expose the administrations lies. The Walter Pincus article in the WaPo from 5/03 has Joe saying that he knew the Italian documents were forgeries because the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.
Joe never saw the documents before the UN,I think, noted that they were forgeries.

The morass the White House collectively created in Iraq wasn't confined there.It permeated every action taken so as to maintain the fiction that what was supposed to be,was.It was supposed to be clearly warranted and we were right in the methods and in doing what it took to succeed.

Posted by: TJM on April 7, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Regular Saturday Protests In Front Of The White House

Most people don't know about it because the MSM doesn't report it. There have been regular Saturday morning protests held in front of the White House every Saturday Morning since the great 100,000 plus Peace Gathering headed up by Cindy Sheehan last September.

To date, the Saturday protests have generally been small. But now that the weather has warmed up and the news has hit the front page that Bush and Cheney committed treason because they outed Valerie Plame for political gain, I suspect those Saturday morning protests are going to become a bit more crowded.

The Latinos were the first ones who are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore. Now it's time for us to follow in their footsteps. We must peaceably march on our nation's capital and demand both Bush and Cheney resign, not to mention several members of their cabinet.

Just remember, every Saturday morning, in front of the White House.

Posted by: KEVIN SCHMIDT, STERLING VA on April 7, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I have just a few simple issues to state that are directly related to this leak thing. I refer to the articles of impeachment for Nixon. Nixon WAS going to be impeached by both the Dems AND Rethugs. The pertinent articles include:

Contempt of congress, abuse of power, misuse of agencies such as the IRS and CIA for political purposes, obstruction of justice, making false statements to the American people about White House involvement in Watergate, lying to investigators.

Bush has recapitulated virtually all of this. All we are missing is a clear break-in of political opponent offices. Instead we have a warrantless search of lawyer's offices who are engaged in defending Americans (citizens with absolute and full Constitutional rights) involved in a Muslim charity in Oregon, clear organized election fraud in two elections, and clear violations of American's CONSTITUTIONAL rights enshrined in the 4th Amendment, and even the 1st Amendment.

This guy is worse than Nixon. This guy is more dangerous than Nixon. He needs to be impeached with almost the same articles of impeachment as Nixon. Just a few minor alterations to the words are necessary.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 7, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

TJM: exgop,go visit The Daily Howler. Somerby lays out the case for why Joe may not have been the best vehicle with which to expose the administrations lies. The Walter Pincus article in the WaPo from 5/03 has Joe saying that he knew the Italian documents were forgeries because the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.
Joe never saw the documents before the UN,I think, noted that they were forgeries

So, TJM, Joe's lie was that he claimed that he knew the forgeries were forgeries before he actually knew they were forgeries? How damning.

If you think that merits outing his wife as a CIA agent, you need to rethink your priorities...

Posted by: exgop on April 7, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Mendacious? Not this regime,I guess you haven't the new newspeak dictionary.

Posted by: proudleftists on April 7, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

Why didn't Bush say "I declassified the documents for [insert reason]" back in 2003 when the Plame issue first came up? Think about that.

Why pretend that he didn't know what and who for 3 years until it was revealed? We know the answer, now the whole world knows even Fox News watchers.

If it was the right thing to do then, why hide it?

Posted by: Ricardo on April 7, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

Please, don't sully the good name of Nixon by comparing him to Bush. Although he was unpopular at the end, Nixon had my respect. That, in stark contrast to our current excuse for leadership. Nixon also had the good sense to resign, when it was time--Bush will have to be dragged out of 1600 Pennsylvania when he's Impeached (and that day is coming).

I could recite quite a few things I admired about Nixon. For example: "Only Nixon could go to China". Also remember that Nixon signed the legislation which created the EPA. Again, in stark contrast to Bush, there is not one thing Bush has done that will be a net positive for this once great nation.

Future generations will curse Bush's name and will be stuck with at least 28K as a "Birth Tax" because of his idiotic policies--if we still have a Constitution with a 1st Amendment when he's done.

Posted by: Ron Russell on April 8, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce the Cannuck:

That game is pretty cool. I manipulated his image to where his head was stuck up his ass...Just as I have long suspected the case to be.

Posted by: Global Citizen on April 8, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Mad Tea Party America can not wait another three years for this nightmare to come to an end ? It must be stopped now ! When the government violates the Constitution, it is the duty of the people to rise up against the government to bring the government into compliance with the Constitution. The government exists for the sole purpose of serving the people, not ruling the people. The Declaration of Independence establishes the supremacy of the people and the right and duty to defend the rights of the people over the acts of a tyrannical form of government. We the PEOPLE are the fourth branch of government and it's time to remove these wicked men from office, whether peacefully or forcefully. Don't expect any help from our do nothing Congress to act on this as they are just as profoundly guilty of mis-representing us on what we stand for as a free Republic.

Posted by: BananaPhish-0 on April 8, 2006 at 6:41 AM | PERMALINK

Start the revolution!!!

Posted by: Gonnuts on April 8, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

On the Olbermann Show, Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank said Bush "LIED", not embroidery and not exaggerated but LIED - isn't it about time to say that word out loud.

I mean even Josh Marshall says this: The White House argument is that President made a decision that such-and-such information needed to be heard by the American people. McClellan just said it was "provided to the American people." But he didn't provide it to the American people. He provided it to Judy Miller. Legal or not, it was by definition a 'leak' since it was revealed anonymously to a single reporter.

Bush didn't want the American people to know this and deliberately mislead the nation about this leak. Bush intend to lie about his part this scandal.

Posted by: Cheryl on April 8, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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