Friday, April 07, 2006

President, Fire Thyself

If Bush were running for reelection in 2008 (rather than just declaring himself Emperor), he could always run on this slogan: "He voted against the leak after he voted for it." It has a ring to it.

It's now widely reported that Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Scooter Libby has told investigators that Pres. Bush authorized him to tell NY Times reporter Judith Miller about Iraq's alleged efforts to procure yellowcake uranium with which to build a nuclear bomb. (A bogus and now disproven claim, of course.)

Scott McClellan and Bush's ever-shrinking band of supporters are saying that if Bush authorized the disclosure of what was then classified information doing so couldn't have been a leak--after all, the President has the power to declassify information.

But at the time, Bush said, "If there's a leak out of this administration, I want to know who it is." That pretty clearly implied that he had nothing to do with disclosing the information. Otherwise, he would have said, "Yeah, I told Scooter to tell Judy that. Next question."

And, this is the part I think is weird, if the President declassified the yellowcake "evidence" (and didn't tell anybody about doing so) in the interests of what Scott McClellan is now calling "the public good," why did he have the Vice President's chief of staff tell it to a reporter anonymously? Why not just hold a press conference and tell everybody himself? If it was important, why go through channels and the funnel of a single newspaper? I mean, it's not like it was a leak, right?

[This post is a correction of last night's post, in which I said that the BBC was saying that Libby had also told the court that Bush authorized leaking Valerie Plame's name. I'm pretty sure that the BBC did in fact report that, but the original article has been updated, and I haven't seen any news organization reporting that claim since then.]


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