T Nation

Leaker in Chief


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


Here's from the Smoking Gun website, which has copies of the actual filing:

"According to Fitzgerald's filing, an excerpt of which you'll find below, Libby, 55, testified in 2003 that he provided reporter Judith Miller with information from a classified National Intelligence Estimate after being told by Cheney that Bush "specifically had authorized" him to "disclose certain information in the NIE." Libby also testified that Cheney specifically directed him to speak to other reporters about information in the classified NIE (which addressed Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction programs) as well as a cable authored by Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson."


Ho-hum, just another thing Bush and Cheney have been lying about...

At what point do the Bush Brown Nose Brigade cry Uncle and say enough? Is it when Bush compromises national security to retaliate against someone who publicly criticizes him?


Bush can declassify information.

If he choses to release information then it is not a "leak."

The only issue here is lying under oath and obstructing justice.

Was Bush ever placed under oath regarding this matter?


Chosing to acknowledge the name of a publically known CIA employee is not compromising national security.

This whole thing is fucking ridiculous.


That isn't the only issue. The other is the "cheery picking" of the info that was actually released.


Telling the media is not the same as declassifying information. Also, I'm not sure that the president has the power to declassify the information, even if that's how you want to spin it. A president is not all-powerful, even if Bush acts like he is.

And what about the blantant lying? If Bush's so damn justified and entitled, why the phony coverup?

President Bush, 9/30/03:

"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information. If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

President Bush, 9/30/03:

"If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of. . . . I have told our administration, people in my administration to be fully cooperative. I want to know the truth. If anybody has got any information inside our administration or outside our administration, it would be helpful if they came forward with the information so we can find out whether or not these allegations are true and get on about the business."

President Bush, 10/28/03:

"I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information."

President Bush, 6/10/04:

Reporter: "Do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?"

President Bush: "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts."

President Bush, 10/28/03:

"I want to know the truth. ... I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."

President Bush, 7/18/05 issue of USA Today:

"If someone committed crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

White House Press Secretary, 9/29/03:

"The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He's made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration."

White House Press Secretary, 10/7/03:

"Let me answer what the President has said. I speak for the President and I'll talk to you about what he wants . . .If someone leaked classified information, the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business."



"The sudden press flap over Scooter Libby's alleged revelation that President Bush declassified intelligence information related to Iraq is silly but all too predictable. The entire flap relies on mixing terms and misunderstanding by innuendo a technique of demagoguery, not journalism. The flap is yet more evidence that the national press is more interested in playing gotcha with the Bush Administration than reporting the news." -- Austin Bay 4/6/06

A link to the executive order granting this power to the President and VP is below:



Quoting bloggers as independant and legitimate news sources? (Austin Bay)

Maybe I should start quoting bloggers too?

Anyway, what's the big deal. Everybody leaks. And the president lied about. Ho-hum.


Ahh the typical democratic response. Attack the person not the content. How's that working out for you? Ho-hum.

Legitimate news source. That's reaching even for you. It's merely a quote. I always give credit to the original writer. If I quoted a news source I would reference it like the link I posted.

Why did you ignore the legal reference?

Austin Bay is a little more then a blogger. More like a writer who has a blog. A writer who makes a living at writing. Big difference. I thought it accurate to quote him for his opinion.

You may not have seen fit to quote bloggers but your ideas track pretty closely to Daily Kos as I'm sure your aware.


Comeon guys, don't you know leaks are in the best interest of the country?



Too bad this isn't how it went down...


Of course he has the power.

The cover up is a big mistake. He deserves to catch heat for the coverup but to pretend he did not have the right or this has national security implications is foolish.

Again the Dems are overplaying their hand.


Telling someone to leak classified information is not the same thing as declassifying it.

There is also the matter of the "consulting company" that was also outed in the process.

I don't see either of these issues as "political twists".


Just as an aside, you chastise someone for relying on bloggers for a piece of info, and then lift from RawStory.com?

Now that is funny.


The President is probably on pretty firm legal standing regarding the leak of the I raq information, but politically, he's a hypocritical bastard. As for if he outed Valerie Plame, that still might be a live legal issue.


I just read the text of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. Should it come to pass that Bush leaked knowingly Valarie Plame's identity, I am not so sure that the executive order giving him and Cheney the power to declassify information overrides the protections the IIPA places on CIA agents. As for what has been acknowledged as leaked (or what have you) by Bush so far, he's probably legally OK. It is however, pretty heinous, morally and politically, to have several people (Libby and other reporters) incriminate themselves over a disclosure you knew to be hunky-dory all along, especially if that leak was politically, not publicly motivated.


What do you think pardons are for? These guys have get out of jail free cards... they don't have to worry as long as they do what Bush wants them to do.


Yeah, the news does seem to speak volumes about Bush's vaunted "character."


What's that burning smell?

Oh, it's just the last shred of George Bush's credibility, going up in flames.

Eight different public denials to the press, where Bush pretended that the leak was a big mystery.


Oops. Let's blame the media!! Damn those reporters for asking questions and getting the responses on tape!