To put this as Boston does…
Here is a nice writeup on the President authorizing leaks.
NEWSVIEW: Leak-Hating President, As Leaker
WASHINGTON - President Bush insists a president “better mean what he says.” Those words could return to haunt him.
After long denouncing leaks of all kinds, Bush is confronted with a statement – unchallenged by his aides – that he authorized a leak of classified material to undermine an Iraq war critic.
The allegation in the CIA leak case threatens the credibility of a president already falling in the polls, and it gives Democrats fresh material to accuse him of hypocrisy.
“In politics, what gets bad gets worse,” said GOP strategist Ed Rogers. “And we’ve been on a a bad roll for quite some time. We’re in an environment now where every mistake is a metaphor.”
Critics were quick to portray the Bush-leak report as a fresh sign of a failed Iraq policy, manipulated intelligence and a lack of presidential veracity. Honesty was once seen by Americans as one of Bush’s strongest character traits, but polls show that perception has waned in Bush’s second term.
Causing the furor is a court filing that revealed that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide, told a federal grand jury that Bush authorized him to leak classified information on Iraq to reporters in mid-2003.
Libby is charged with lying and obstructing an investigation into whether the administration intentionally revealed the identity of a CIA operative, Valerie Plame, to undermine her husband’s public criticism of the Iraq war.
As president, Bush has wide latitude to declassify material. And there was nothing in the legal papers filed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to suggest Bush or Cheney did anything illegal, or had specifically authorized Libby to identify Plame.
Still, the report put Bush and Cheney at the center of the alleged administration effort to leak classified material to bolster its case for invading Iraq and to discredit war critics.
Bush often has denounced leaks and pledged to punish the leakers. He has expressed pride in a disciplined White House where leaks are infrequent.
“It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war,” he told a news conference last Dec. 19, speaking of the leaking of the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.
The latest flap comes as things seemed as if they could hardly get worse for the president and his Republican allies: Iraq, continued fallout over the botched Katrina response, the Dubai ports debacle, shortcomings in the new Medicare prescription drug program, the resignation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the collapse of a proposed immigration overhaul.
Perhaps the best line is this one…
The disclosure that Bush might be the White House leaker-in-chief isn’t going to help matters