Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CHENEY DID IT!....The New York Times reports that George Bush's people have confirmed that he did order the declassification of the NIE that Scooter Libby subsequently disclosed to Judith Miller:

But the official said that Mr. Bush did not designate Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., or anyone else, to release the information to reporters.

Translation: Don't blame this on us. Cheney and his guys might have been out of control, but Bush had nothing to do with any leaks. All he did was approve the declassification.

The scapegoating is starting to heat up. Can we expect a rebuttal from an anonymous official on Cheney's staff anytime soon?

Kevin Drum 2:03 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (85)

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Comments

A House divided...

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

This is obviously Clinton's fault.

Posted by: phleabo on April 10, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

How convenient. Of course it was declassified by Bush just prior to Cheney's uncoordinated disclosure. Sure.

Posted by: jc on April 10, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it does have a faint scent of utter and complete bullshit about it.

Posted by: phleabo on April 10, 2006 at 2:21 AM | PERMALINK

George is saying that even though he declassified it he doesn't want people to think he thinks giving it to a reporter was the right thing to do.

That's like having your cake and throwing it up in somebody's lap, at the same time.

I bet he thinks this is a clever political-like way of getting around it. Like he thinks he's Talleyrand.

Posted by: cld on April 10, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Mmmmmm....I can smell the personal resposibility all the out here in Texas.

Posted by: jimbo on April 10, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

I bet he thinks this is a clever political-like way of getting around it. Like he thinks he's Talleyrand.

Yeah, he'll just claim it was all a crime. At least that's not as bad as a mistake...

Posted by: floopmeister on April 10, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

Give me a break about the scapegoating. You still think this is not all coreographed?

This is a Kabuki play. Cheney takes the fall, but nothing changes, funadametally.

I'm not saying this is briliant, or that it will play in Peoria. But it's planned, and gamed.

Posted by: CR on April 10, 2006 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

I realize this provides anti-Bush folks with a good talking point, but it seems normal for an administration to disclose information helpful to it when it is getting a beating in the presss. I saw that Clinton did something comparable when he was hit with criticims about bombing the factor in Dalfur (sp?) as a wag the dog (?) deal to take attention away from Monica.

With respect to the Times story, why would an annonymous source provide information by email? Seems crazy, unless the source has concerns about the trustworthiness of the reporter accurately reporting an oral statement, and feels the need to get the information in the reporter's newspaper.

Posted by: brian on April 10, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

So they're saying he declassified it so that they could NOT tell anybody about it?

Posted by: Royko on April 10, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Sssshhhh.

Posted by: Secret Squirrel on April 10, 2006 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

The Clinton bombing was a factory in Sudan, not Dalcur, after the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Sorry. But the point remains that a president can properly unclassify and "leak" information to counter what opponents are say about him. Of course, if it is shown that the the leak is deceptive, that is another story. I don't think we have enough information yet, to know if the Bush leak was deceptive.

Posted by: brian on April 10, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

JC and CR are correct. This is a carefully scripted legal defense. Bush declassified the information, but not as part of a criminal conspiracy to out Plame (so they say). Cheney relayed recently declassified information to Libby who then relayed it to a reporter, so that may not technically be a crime either.

Just an unfortunate series of unrelated missteps. Oh well, what's new?

Posted by: Augustus on April 10, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

With respect to the Times story, why would an annonymous source provide information by email? Seems crazy, unless the source has concerns about the trustworthiness of the reporter accurately reporting an oral statement, and feels the need to get the information in the reporter's newspaper.

Not crazy at all. The goal is to get the wording correct, since we now know that the precise definition of "leak" is so crucial to the Pres. What a crook.

Posted by: troglodyte on April 10, 2006 at 3:00 AM | PERMALINK

brian ... you ignorant motherfucker ... were you trying to say Darfur?

Cheney relayed recently declassified information to Libby who then relayed it to a reporter, so that may not technically be a crime either.
Posted by: Augustus

what about libby lying? is that still illegal?

Posted by: Nads on April 10, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

"... it seems normal for an administration to disclose information helpful to it when it is getting a beating in the presss..."

Wow, did I miss seeing Bush take a beating in the press? I have got to stop blinking!

Posted by: Kenji on April 10, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

brian I don't think we have enough information yet, to know if the Bush leak was deceptive.

Read the memo again. It is the "Cheney leak". Cheney will take the bullet. Bush is squeaky-clean.

Posted by: has407 on April 10, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

brian - how much have you had to drink tonight?

Posted by: dante on April 10, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

What is "Dalcur"? I think you made it up.

I don't think we have enough information yet, to know if the Bush leak was deceptive.

You may not have enough information yet. I would suggest you read the relevant articles in the Washington Post, TIME and the NYT from the last several days. Then you will have enough information. As the NYT reports, the NIE contained 3 sections. In one, it said the Brits thought thre was evidence that the Iraqis had tried to buy uranium from Niger. In another, it countered the British claim, saying the evidence was dubious and full of holes. Finally, it summed up the conclusions about the Iraqi nuke program and discarded the part about having sought uranium in Niger. Bush declassified only the first part, about the British at one point thinking there was at least some evidence that the Iraqis had sought uranium in Niger, and didn't declassify the part about the CIA having decided the British were full of crap.

Furthermore, in January 2003, after receiving repeated warnings from George Tenet not to use the Niger-uranium story anymore because it was bogus, Bush was told straight up in a memo from the CIA that the Niger-uranium story was "baseless". He then went ahead and repeated the Niger-uranium story in his speech on March 8. And when he declassified that portion of the NIE in July, he again resurrected the claim, failing to disclose that his own intelligence service had already told him many times it was false.

Bush's approach to the truth is that of a salesman. If he has something that sounds good, he uses it, even if it's false. It's not clear why Americans think this is acceptable behavior from salesmen and businesses, but it certainly isn't acceptable behavior from the President.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 3:18 AM | PERMALINK

This was really the weakness of the anti-Bush position all along. As I said many times: they have all the information on who said what and to whom, and they can choose to release any part of it, or even lie, and there's pretty much nothing anyone can do about it. That Libby got busted for lying really is a testament to the sheer flimflammery of their whole operation.

But at the end of the day, they always had the "Bush declassified it" excuse to fall back on. That, and the Presidential Pardon.

I think the best goal that could ever have been hoped for by the Democrats was that Bush could suffer the political damage of the truth getting out. Since he's already at 37-ish % approval, I don't think much damage can be done. The 37% who support him probably think it's peachy that Bush has the power to selectively declassify information, because in the end, it fooled the Liberals just long enough for them to get away with invading Iraq. That's all they needed.

And this once again underscores the way Modern Authoritarian-Republicans think. The consequences of their actions don't matter. All that matters is that they got to do what they thought was right - which was to get Saddam back for thumbing his nose at them. They don't care that it cost half a trillion dollars. They don't care that 2500 US troops died. They don't care that Iraq is in shambles. They really don't even much care that gas is $3/gal. (because that makes those dirty poor blacks pay back the Oil Companies for all that tax money that went to welfare queens, am I right?). They don't care that our military is stretched to the point of ineffectiveness, they don't care that the world hates us, they don't care that a Liberal's wife was outed as a CIA agent, they don't care that our counterproliferation apparatus was set back maybe a decade. All they care about is Bush got what he wanted, and Liberals are mad about it.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on April 10, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

what about libby lying? is that still illegal?

Yes, absolutely! But obstruction of justice is only Martha Stewart illegal. I should have specified (thought it was implied) that the compartmentalized division of events (Bush declassified, Cheney related, Libby divulged -- all allegedly independent of one another -- may make it harder to nail Libby for outting Plame, which is the crux of this investigation.

Somehow you can imagine that Libby spending a few months in prison will make him a conservative martyr, for which he will later (in just another unrelated coincidence) be well rewarded financially. Assuming he isn't pardoned.

Just for fun, you may recall that Weinberger claimed part of why he was excused for his involvement in Iran-Contra (let's not forget there were about a dozen others) was Bush's concern for his (Weinberger's) failing health. He died 15 years later. Oops. (though who knows how long he would have lived if he testified :)

Posted by: Augustus on April 10, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

I guess I do need to brush up on African geography.

But I still think it is unusual for an annonymous source to use an email. It had to be an effort to try to control exactly what the reporter wrote and take the disclose risks of using an emal.

Posted by: brian on April 10, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, whaddya know? Another original idea! Blame it on the "loose cannon underlings" - fog of war, that whole thing.

It worked for Reagan.

It's working for me in my Enron trial.

Gotta have a scapegoat though. Poor Dick.

Somehow you can imagine that Libby spending a few months in prison will make him a conservative martyr, for which he will later (in just another unrelated coincidence) be well rewarded financially.

G.Gordon Liddy, I.Lewis Libby. . . You can't make this stuff up!

Posted by: Ken Lay on April 10, 2006 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder who this "senior administration official" is.

We can assume he works for Bush, but "official declined to be named, because of an administration policy of not commenting on issues now in court. " doesn't offer much of a clue.

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on April 10, 2006 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

All they care about is Bush got what he wanted, and Liberals are mad about it.

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on April 10, 2006 at 4:13 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush is throwing Cheney under the bus, then why hasn't Cheney been fired. Why wasnt Libby fired before he was indicted.?

This distancing thing from Bush is a bunch of hogwash because neither Cheney or Libby were fired over any of this stuff. He knew....kept them on till LIbby was indicted, and now is throwing Cheney under the bus because the investigation is getting too close to the top. Bush had plenty of time to crawl out of the pig sty, but decided to wallow in the mud with the rest of them.

Trying to come clean now won't get rid of all the built up stench.

Posted by: zAmboni on April 10, 2006 at 5:39 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds to me like it's time again for the wicked witch of Washington (none other than Cheney's mouthpiece Mary (mad bitch dog Matlin)to take the flying broom out of the closet and make her early morning rounds on the morning propaganda shows to once again defend her boss old hit them in the face Cheney.

Posted by: Tom From Maine on April 10, 2006 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

"what about libby lying? is that still illegal?"

While I agree that the Cheney stroy is the more important issue regarding this new information, We shouldn't loose sight of the fact that this revelation was made by Fitzgerald for reasons that are, it seems to me, at best ill understood.

Posted by: jhm on April 10, 2006 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

I bet most of you are already familiar with this quote, but it seems especially relevant:

"Nothing ever happens in politics by accident. If it happens, it was planned that way" - FDR

Posted by: Jim C. on April 10, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

While it is good to finally have the process by which the Bush administration lied about the Iraqi nuclear program laid out in a nice easily followed manner, the focus needs to be on the equally dishonest way in which the Republican Congress has repeatedly provided cover for them.

In particular, the utterly bankrupt addendum to the Senate report by Senators Roberts, Hatch and Bond and the way Senator Roberts repeatedly postponed the "Phase 2" investigation into how the administration used the intelligence need to be pointed out to show why it is important for Democrats to regain control of at least one house of Congress.

Posted by: tanj on April 10, 2006 at 7:55 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, even the Washington Post proclaims that Iraq had indeed sought uranium from Niger -- and that Joe Wilson was a serial liar -- and that GWB was right to declassify the NIE document.

PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

Rather than follow the usual declassification procedures and then invite reporters to a briefing -- as the White House eventually did -- Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter. The full public disclosure followed 10 days later. There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual about that; nor is this presidentially authorized leak necessarily comparable to other, unauthorized disclosures that the president believes, rightly or wrongly, compromise national security. ...

The affair concerns, once again, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV and his absurdly over-examined visit to the African country of Niger in 2002. Each time the case surfaces, opponents of the war in Iraq use it to raise a different set of charges, so it's worth recalling the previous iterations. Mr. Wilson originally claimed in a 2003 New York Times op-ed and in conversations with numerous reporters that he had debunked a report that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Niger and that Mr. Bush's subsequent inclusion of that allegation in his State of the Union address showed that he had deliberately "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraq threat." The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 10, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Drip, drip, drip.... Someone pass the popcorn; I can hardly wait to see what happens next.

Posted by: PaulB on April 10, 2006 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Poor little Normy. Is an anonymous editorial, directly contradicted by a front-page news report in that very edition of the paper, the best you can do? Feel free to come back when you've got something real, won't you? We won't be holding our breaths, of course, since there's nothing there.

Posted by: PaulB on April 10, 2006 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

Uhm, Norman, that's an editorial. Editorials contain opinions. Opinions are not facts. This particular editorial is factually challenged in a number of ways, the relevant one here being its assertions of what Wilson discovered and what the White House said about that.

Simple question for you, if Wilson were guilty of twisting the truth as this editorial contends, why did the White House subsequently agree that they were wrong to include the famous 16 words in the SOTU?


Posted by: Ray on April 10, 2006 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

More Cheney bashing, I see.

The fact of the matter is Bush admitted himself last weeek that he gave Cheney declassification authority. What's more, Bush can declassify whatever he wants, so there's really no issue here. It's not like declassifying the NIE was any kind of security threat anyway. You libs are just so blinded by your Bush/cheney hatred. Remember when you guys wanted to impeach Bush because Cheney accidently shot someone. Ha ha, that really had legs...NOT!

Posted by: egbert on April 10, 2006 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

Bush can declassify whatever he wants, so there's really no issue here.

Sure he can declassify whatever he wants, its not like there is any real national security interest involved here or anything. National security is just a tool to win elections to these guys anyway.

What he can't do is selectively declassify information that his apparchicks then secretly leak to the press on deep background, while 1) claiming to be opposed to leaks, 2) failing to release the the information on the same page that rebuts his claims 3) continuing to style himself a plain-spoken, truth-telling, simple man of the people.

You know in your heart that they are liars who will do anything and say anything to get what they want.

Remember when you guys wanted to impeach Bush because Cheney accidently shot someone.

No actually I don't. Can you refresh my memory?

Posted by: Ray on April 10, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Its the Fraud of the Inquiry Stupid.

Bush and Cheney knowingly withheld vital information from a grand jury investigation, a multimillion dollar inquiry the perps themselves authorized.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 10, 2006 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

But Yes it's the Democrats Fault, the Liberals Fault, The Courts Fault, Cheneys Fault, Congresses Fault, Medias Fault, Pundits Fault, Joe Wilsons Fault, Powells Fault, Libbys Fault, Cards Fault, Clarkes Fault, CIA/FBI Fault, Tenet Fault, Lack of Imagination Fault, corrupt senators Fault, Abramoffs Fault, Cunninghams Fault, Delays Fault, Enrons Fault, 911 Commissions' Fault, Hadleys Fault, Wolfowitz Fault, OSP Fault, Feiths Fault, Gores Fault, Browns Fault, Chertoffs Fault, FEMA Fault....Every ones Fault but the Current Administration Right?

Yeh Right.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 10, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

How about a little empathy? If you had to start ritualistically with the conclusion that Bush is innocent of everything his critics ever said about him, and only then look at the facts-as-revealed, what would you come up with to explain this latest news?

That's what the senior official was up against.

"First the outcome, then the evidence" may sound like it's easier than addressing the reality of the president's actions, but, really, it depends on the evidence!

Posted by: Jay Rosen on April 10, 2006 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

But Brooksfoe,

Furthermore, in January 2003, after receiving repeated warnings from George Tenet not to use the Niger-uranium story anymore because it was bogus, Bush was told straight up in a memo from the CIA that the Niger-uranium story was "baseless".
Did anyone actually READ the memor TO Bush? If not, then he was still unaware of it, right?

[/Snark]
Good post, Brooksfoe.

Posted by: Rick B on April 10, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

The ISSUE, once again is not the Hegelian one the Pundit Media Wishes you to focus on, Classified or Declassified, The Yellow Cake Story was bogus from the Get Go, How do you Classify a Forged Documents?

Naw the BIG Story here is the Grand Jury that was mislead by the Cercopes

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 10, 2006 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

tanj--

You're absolutely right. While it is all fine and good to attack Bush and Cheney, their political careers will be over in two years anyway and they will not be remembered as good leaders by history, which may be the worst punishment possible. Accountability is important, but let's hold the Republicans in congress a bit more accountable, since the nation is going to have to deal with them much longer. Reid was right to force these issues...it makes it much harder for the GOP to say "Well Democrats did it too! Nyah!"

Sometimes I think the reason immigration has suddenly gotten so much attention lately is that it is in the interest of GOP congressmen to highlight an issue that shows them disagreeing with this very unpopular president. Democrats need to focus on the 99% of issues where the GOP Congress went in lockstep with Bush, from DeLay all the way to "moderates" like McCain.

Bush is already a walking ghost. By all means kick him while he's down, but also look to the future. One of these GOP congressmen is likely to be the nominee in 2008. Don't let them say they were "mavericks" or free from White House control because they voted once against an immigration bill.

Posted by: kokblok on April 10, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Norm,

even the Washington Post proclaims that Iraq had indeed sought uranium from Niger -- and that Joe Wilson was a serial liar -- and that GWB was right to declassify the NIE document.
You will notice that was an unsigned editorial, not a report of fact. Whoever wrote that piece of pure opinion didn't have the courage to put a name on it.

Just because something is printed doesn't make it true. That was a lie aimed at the conservative base, since they will believe anything they like and disbelieve anything they dislike without regard to accuracy or truth. Goebbels, Rove and Bush all made careers out of that process.

Posted by: Rick B on April 10, 2006 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

re: choreography

Heck, it's like Noh theater.

Posted by: kostya on April 10, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Jay Rosen:>"If you had to start ritualistically with the conclusion that Bush is innocent of everything his critics ever said about him, and only then look at the facts-as-revealed, what would you come up with to explain this latest news?"


What a great way to 'get through' to a Kook-Aid drinker who's a basically nice guy. Just ask if there's any criticism of Bush, anything at all, not a complete liberal fabrication. Anything with just a tiny bit of truth to it.

Makes sense: claiming a president to be 100% pure and innocent sounds foolish; one of the greatest fears of a conservative.

Dunno if it's gonna work on my favorite Kool-Aid drinker, but it's worth a try. Just ask *reaaal* nice.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on April 10, 2006 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Rick B.:>"Goebbels, Rove and Bush all made careers out of that process"

Careful Rick B., lest the Godwin Nazis attack you!

Posted by: Joey Giraud on April 10, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with PaulB. I can't wait for the next installment in this series of amazingly coincidental events.

Five bucks says Cheney's health takes a retirement-inducing turn for the worse by Labor Day.

Posted by: shortstop on April 10, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

I think the dirty little whitehouse secret is that Chaney never gave Bush the 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 10, 2006 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

This makes it all so easy.

Blame it all on Cheney.
Cheney resigns and is pardoned.

Bush can pretend HE was betrayed and now with Cheney gone, his poll numbers zoom.

he is the victim
just like the bad intelligence

Posted by: lilybart on April 10, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

...now with Cheney gone, his poll numbers zoom.

Too late for that, I think. This story is more embarrassingly lame than "the dog ate my homework." Cheney might have made a successful fall guy a year ago. At this point, the whole country knows Bush is lying.

I do, however, look forward to the continued contorted attempts of tbrosz, John Hansen, Frequency and our other mental mammoths, none of whom ever learned that when you've got nothin' it's best to say nothin', to try and 'splain it away. Norman's pathetic offering this morning was particularly giggle inducing. Keep it up, fellas.

Posted by: shortstop on April 10, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Brian: With respect to the Times story, why would an annonymous source provide information by email? Seems crazy, unless the source has concerns about the trustworthiness of the reporter accurately reporting an oral statement, and feels the need to get the information in the reporter's newspaper.

When is the WSJ going to fire Taranto for lying, Brian?

The NYTimes fired Blair, so why isn't the WSJ firing Taranto?

Because conservatives embrace liars and lying.

I saw that Clinton did something comparable when he was hit with criticims about bombing the factor in Dalfur (sp?) as a wag the dog (?) deal to take attention away from Monica.

Yes, that's it, try to distract everybody from a president who lied about the war, the prescription drug bill, global warming, the Iraqi WMDs, etc, etc, etc, by referring to a president who lied about an irrelevant affair that had nothing to do with his official duties and should have affected no one outside his immediate family.

Shame on you.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK


Of course, the wrong side of the Bell Curve will lap it up.

Posted by: 5 on April 10, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Brian: But the point remains that a president can properly unclassify and "leak" information to counter what opponents are say about him.

He might be able to release such information, if it is not selective and misleading, but he can't and shouldn't "leak" it.

And if it was so truthful and important, why didn't he just tell the press himself, the whole press, instead of having it "leaked" to a particularly shoddy reporter by a subordinate that hid who the real "leaker" was?

Of course, if it is shown that the the leak is deceptive, that is another story.

Done. That's what "selective disclosure" amounts to: "misleading."

Otherwise, it wouldn't have to be selective, now would it.

I don't think we have enough information yet, to know if the Bush leak was deceptive.

Then, you haven't been paying attention.

Now, who would've thought that!

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

"The official declined to be named, because of an administration policy of not commenting on issues now in court."

The administration obviously has no such policy. Their policy is to PRETEND that they don't comment on such matters by doing it anonymously while lying about WHY they are doing it anonymously.

Our job is to try to believe that a senior administration official, making a deceptive comment that is helpful to the administration is doing so in violation of a "policy."

Posted by: doctorem on April 10, 2006 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

This sounds like the kind of scenario they dreamed up over the weekend, in which Cheney agreed to take the heat.

Wink wink. Nudge nudge.

Posted by: Rick Rettberg on April 10, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.coldbloodpoker.com/play-poker.html

Posted by: sd on April 10, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

"You will notice that was an unsigned editorial, not a report of fact"

It's funny when you disagree with an op-ed it's "opinion", but when a dipshit like Krugman writes something it's "fact".

Posted by: BlaBlaBla on April 10, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

But remember, this has NOTHING to do with that Valerie Plame thing. NOTHING. Totally separate. Because they said so, that's why. Whatcha lookin' at?

Posted by: clb72 on April 10, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Shame on the Bush Administration for releasing accurate information to refute Joe Wilson's obfuscations! For shame!

Posted by: Birkel on April 10, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Birkel: Shame on the Bush Administration for releasing accurate information to refute Joe Wilson's obfuscations! For shame!

Selective 'accurate' information along with lies.

Shame on you for lying about it.

BlaBlaBla: It's funny when you disagree with an op-ed it's "opinion", but when a dipshit like Krugman writes something it's "fact".

It's funny you keep making this untrue claim.

No, it's not funny after all, because lying isn't funny.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Also interesting to note, we now have definitive proof that Bush did lie when he uttered his infamous sixteen words to convince Americans that Iraq was a nuclear (or 'nucular') threat.

No longer can conservatives say Bush didn't lie.

Well, they can and they will, but then they will be lying too, not just of that opinion.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Slate's Daniel Gross . . .

"The dissatisfaction with Snow stems from the fact that he doesn't seem to convince enough Americans that it's raining when they're getting pissed on."

As Mark Kleiman says, "precisely."

In other words, Brian, Bush can't stomach those who won't lie for him, because conservative embrace lying and liars whenever it serves their partisan interests and reward those who are mendacious on their behalf, punishing those who will not be.

Posted by: Advocate for God on April 10, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

So what? The president can declassify and order the release of NIEs all day long if he wants to. What's the big deal?

Posted by: DBL on April 10, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives seem to have an unending capacity for being lied to, which is the ultimate form of disrespect, and continue to be willing victims.

What kind of sissies are republicans and the pushovers in the press to let this admin repeated lie and smirk at them and not respond? Bush can stand there and spout nonsense (nonsense with dire consequences like Saddam wouldn't allow inspections, Saddam kicked the inspectors out, Saddam has nukes, nobody knew the levees in N.O. could be breached, he gets warrants for his spying, he only spies on foreign enemies, he doesn't condone torture, he couldn't have known terrorists were planning to hijack and crash planes, he didn't know the Niger docs were forged and wasn't aware every other bit of info regarding Niger was false, didn't know about the attack on Wilson) and republicans and their press pals seem to just bend over and take it.

Posted by: Chrissy on April 10, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, what an astonishingly lame performance from the Bush Cultists today. I especially love the feigned ignorance and/or willful deception involved in the "what's the big deal" stance. I suppose the RNC hasn't issued a real set of talking points yet (although I'm sure tbrosz will be along with a fresh load of mendacity as soon as possible).

The unfolding scandal may not result in Bush's impeachment or in criminal charges for him or Cheney. What it does do is shatter whatever credibility Bush had left with the American people, wingnuts aside, and once that trust is gone it never, ever comes back.

And you know what? These recent developments are one of the biggest reasons I opposed Bush's insistence on war with Iraq. As I said at the time, if you sell a war to the American public on dubious grounds, their support will collapse one they realized they've been decieved. The American people see the costs as higher than they'd been promised (Bush cultists, chickenhawks almost to a one, don't care, of course, because they aren't asked pay the cost in either lives or treasure -- Bush insists on paying for this hugely expensive debacle with a tax cut) and that the scary specter of a nuclear Saddam was not only a near-total fabrication, but one the Bush Administration knew was bogus at the time.

Bush could have made an honest case for war, but it's unlikely he would have received the support of the American people. So he lied. And he and his minions have attacked those who pointed out the lies. But the cat's out of the bag, though, and Bush's credibility is shattered forever. The Bush Cultists may retain their loyalty, but the American people will never trust him again, and will likely not trust Republicans with national security for a generation to come. Only that fact bodes any good for American national security as a result of this mess.

Posted by: Gregory on April 10, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin ought to have seen enough of the way the Bush administration operates to know that there is no way a West Wing staffer would finger the Vice President for something like this without the Vice President's prior knowledge and approval. Cheney will always be willing to take political bullets for Bush; it's a big reason he was put on the ticket in the first place.

The White House's political thinking on the declassification/leak issue may be wrong, but what is isn't, is an indication of internal disarray.

Posted by: Zathras on April 10, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think what we are seeing is the usual WH/Rove shell game: This is what happpened. It was legal. The President knows. No, it happened this way. No, it happened that way! He did! He didn't! No, look over here, it happened this way! He knew, he didn't know. It isn't that, it's this!

Eventually all of us are so thoroughly confused that we become uncomfortable even bringing up the subject. It is analogous to Bush's TANG record, Dan Rather and the "forged" documents.

In this context I applaud brooksfoe's overview (at 3:18 AM) and this useful soundbite, by one eye buck tooth [X^B at 8:50: "Bush and Cheney knowingly withheld vital information from a grand jury investigation, a multimillion dollar inquiry the perps themselves authorized."

The WH will try to squirm away from the truth and exhaust us with their wriggling shape-changing, but we just need to hang on until all that is left is the truth.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 10, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

You guys need more Normans and Als to feed on. Any volunteers? Or, saving that, why not put them on the payroll?

Posted by: Sang Freud on April 10, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

So when does the other shoe drop? The NIE part confirms what we essentially already knew.

But did the President's authorization extend to revealing Wilson/Plame? The blame here rests with Libby, Cheney or Bush himself. Since Rove was also involved, I think we can guess this goes higher than Libby.

Posted by: xyz on April 10, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

After you guys are done nuking ants in a fishbowl, try to study the stellar record of the Bush administration in the design and implementation of a realistic foreign policy that eminently serves the American interests. Then come back and tell us what the impotent and neutered Democrats have to offer.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 10, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney did nothing wrong, The estate tax applies to you if your parents are worth more than $100,000. Clinton got a free ride for avoiding the draft while Bush was pilloried, the federal government supplies 100% of the operating budget for PBS/NPR and the U.N. DOES intend to take over the U.S. and take our guns away... I guess

Posted by: Jason R. Reed on April 10, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Fast forward to 2033. Kevin Drum publishes the "Geezer Gazette", a weekly paper at the senior citizen home where Drum now lives. The paper is read by only a handful of the senior citizens at the home. The majority of them have grown weary of Drum's non-stop articles on Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Valerie Plame, and Dick Cheney. One old-timer at the home was seen poking his cane in Drum's chest and yelling, "What's the matter with you, nobody cares about that stuff!"

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on April 10, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

try to study the stellar record of the Bush administration in the design and implementation of a realistic foreign policy

Yeah, I've been meaning to spend some time studying that, right after I finish my Ph.D. on phlogiston.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

kokblok is right: Bush is already a walking ghost.

Dead chimp walking.

Now he can play the albatross to the Congressional Republicans' Ancient Mariner.

"The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I."

Posted by: cowalker on April 10, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

nobody cares about that stuff

Except for Frequency Kenneth, who for some reason felt compelled to continually write long, furious, and involved letters to the editor about how he didn't care about that stuff.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 10, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think we have enough information yet, to know if the Bush leak was deceptive. - brian

Were their lips moving?

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 10, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Why didn't this all come out three years ago before the American public spent millions of dollars.If nothing illeagal was done why waste everyones time and money?

Posted by: Right minded on April 10, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Greg Palast thinks we're missing the real story here.

He's talking RICO

Posted by: conscious1 on April 10, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Why didn't this all come out three years ago before the American public spent millions of dollars."

Two words: ELECTION YEAR

Posted by: ajl on April 10, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

conscious1: "Greg Palast thinks we're missing the real story here."

Thanks for the link: I wonder if any of the following has the power of "perjury" to incite the House of Representatives into action?

from the Palast website: "Bush and Cheney withholding material information from the grand jury is a felony. Several felonies, actually: abuse of legal process, fraud, racketeering and, that old standby, obstruction of justice."

Don't be distracted by the chatter and squirming. Keep your eye on the target.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 10, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

He leaked for it before he leaked against it.

Posted by: cld on April 10, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

And evidently, this valuable soundbite, written by by one eye buck tooth [X^B at 8:50AM (and cited by me approvingly at 11:15) was originally published by Greg Palast on Sunday: "Bush and Cheney knowingly withheld vital information from a grand jury investigation, a multimillion dollar inquiry the perps themselves authorized."

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 10, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

I doubt that either Bush or Cheney will be indicted anytime soon, at least based on what we know now. The real damage to the Bush administration is twofold, I think:

1. It hits right at Bush's strengths -- his reputation as a "straight-shooter" and his reputation on national security. We've already seen those poll numbers dropping for Bush. I fully expect them to continue to drop.

2. There is greater pressure on Congress to finally(!) conduct a genuine and serious investigation on the Bush administration's words and deeds in the run-up to the war and its immediate aftermath. I rather suspect that such an investigation would be devastating to Bush, but we'll have to wait and see.

Posted by: PaulB on April 10, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

bush's people? great source.

Posted by: cw on April 10, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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