more on the Bush leaks

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Andrew Sullivan writes a more measured analysis of Bush’s leaks in “’Declassifying’ & ‘Leaking’” than I did yesterday:

In this case, we're merely talking about the following set of circumstances. A president is challenged in his public account of pre-war intelligence. The president authorizes a selective leak of classified information to rebut the challenge. He selects only those parts of the classified information that supports his case, and omits the rest that actually show parts of the government disputing his case. He authorizes the veep to authorize Libby to give the selected information to a pliant reporter for the New York Times. Meanwhile, his public statements reiterate an abhorrence of all unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

This is an interesting insight into the president's character. It simply shows his willingness to use the prerorgatives of his office as the guardian of our national security to play political hardball against opponents. It shows a conscious capacity to mislead people by selectively disclosing data that skews - for a while - the public's understanding of the facts. It proves that this president is capable of deliberately misleading the American people… [emphasis added]

Kevin Drum has a few questions over at Washington Monthly:

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?

Christy Hardin Smith has more questions at FDL:

What else has been selectively declassified for public manipulation purposes?

How many times has the Bush Administration used its declassification power for their own, personal political gain — how many times have they lied to the public by omitting the whole truth? How many media-planted lies have then been used by Administration officials in public interviews as justifications for their actions? Did Condi know when she was prattling on about mushroom clouds that she was flat out lying to the public?

Shouldn’t someone in this Administration be held accountable at some point for all the lies — and for being so weak, so craven, so unwilling to face the whole truth, especially after so many of our brave men and women in uniform have lost their lives and limbs in a war ginned up on these public lies? Isn’t declassifying something solely to bolster your political position with the American public a misuse of your power — especially given the sensitivity of the information and the fact that public disclosure of it without a thorough vetting by the intelligence agency might mean that sources were burned by your actions? Does the Bush Administration even care about the consequences of their petty and impulsive behavior — or has cheating simply become their preferred mode of operation?

Someone needs to start answering these questions, preferably under oath.


update (1:30pm):
Sullivan writes in “When is a leak not a leak?” that

… the president picked a few items to declassify - items that clearly misled the public - and told underlings to give them to selected members of the press. I think that's a fair ethical description of a leak. At the very least, it's a clear intent to mislead, by selectively releasing evidence. And if he deliberately misled the people after the war on intelligence, doesn't that imply he was fully capable of doing so beforehand? This is not a matter of law ultimately. It's a matter of character and honor. And it's not a pretty perspective on this president. [emphasis added]

Sullivan understates the case; the past five years haven’t been a “pretty perspective” on Bush.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 7, 2006 12:58 PM.

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