Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Newsweek headline: "Leaker in Chief?"

I gotta say, daaaaaaaaaaamn.....

I just got my new issue of Newsweek and while I had to cringe when I saw Katie Couric on the cover, it didn't take more than a flip of a few pages for me to see a headline that made me very, VERY happy.

Titled "Leaker in chief?", the story is not a good one for Dear Leader and his merry band of criminals.  Even more interesting is that the story is co-authored by Michael Isikoff, who is no friend of the progressive community.

As a bonus at the link, there is a vote to ask, "Do you think President Bush authorized Scooter Libby to leak classified information", which is currently running at 90% yes.

The article starts out with some good setup:

George W. Bush likes to be seen as a man who dwells above the pettiness of political warfare. He has said he doesn't read the newspapers and shrugs off media criticism as carping of the chattering classes. Especially since 9/11, he has said that he looks to a higher power for guidance. He once threatened to stop sharing information with Capitol Hill if lawmakers didn't put a stop to leaking. "There are too many leaks of classified information," he told reporters in September 2003, "and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is."

Last week a video clip of Bush making that statement became cable-TV wallpaper.

Bush, it appeared, was not above the old leaking game after all. The president who, as a younger man, once played the role of loyalty enforcer in his father's White House had not forgotten how to play hardball. According to a filing from the prosecutor in the Valerie Plame leak investigation, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, who has been indicted for lying in the case, told a grand jury that President Bush specifically authorized him to leak from an intelligence document on WMD in Iraq.

So, for people that have been living under a rock for the past three years, or at least the past week, they get a taste of how honest and up-front Dear Leader is.  The article goes on to cite a senior GOP aide that was afraid of the "Leaker in Chief" name sticking around and jeapordizing Republicans' chances in November, as well as point out that the White House has not even denied the central theme to Libby's claim.

Which brings me to a bit of a diversion - the same thing happened with the documents surrounding Bush's going AWOL, as well as many many other things that has gone on in the past few years.  The real charges and claims go unrefuted and a (usually small) side detail becomes the focus, and is picked up on by everyone.  

THIS MUST BE CHANGED.  The focus, as so eloquently put by BenGoshi should remain squarely on the leak and the lies surrounding the leak.  I'll add that there should be focus on how the leak damaged our ability to track Iran and nukes as well.

Anyway, back to the Newsweek article.  It perfectly points out an absolutely asinine response by the White House regarding Chimpy's involvement:

But by late last weekend, the White House was scrambling to distance Bush from the leak, putting out the word that the president had not been involved in tactical decisions--like who should leak, or picking which reporter to leak to.

If that is the best they can come up with, then I am thoroughly unimpressed.  He authorized the leak of classified information, but since he didn't say who it should be leaked by or leaked to, then it is ok.  Seems to me that fat Karl Rove is slipping in his ability to deflect blame.

It also brings Rice's lies and other inconsistencies into the mix.  

But the administration was unquestionably playing games with reporters, whether or not the president was directly involved.

For instance, on July 11, seven days before key portions of the NIE were released, reporters badgered the then national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice to allow them to see some of the NIE, which had been used by the administration to make the case for war with Congress. "We don't want to try to get into kind of selective declassification," said Rice, though she added, "We're looking at what can be made available."

What Rice did not say was that just a few days before, Libby, who was Cheney's chief of staff and national-security adviser, had been doing some highly selective leaking to Miller over breakfast at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington.


Rice says that they don't want to be selectively declassifying information although they are doing just that.  No wonder she needs those real expensive boots because of all of the shit she is wading in.

There is a good piece that deals with Libby's conversation with Judith Miller, and how that doesn't really seem to correspond to the story that is being peddled by BushCo, linking Cheney, Bush, Libby and to the lies about Libby telling Miller that a highly classified National Intelligence Estimate had "firmly concluded that Iraq was seeking uranium.".

No one is accusing Bush of leaking Plame's name, but he started the ball rolling that ended up with her exposure.

Judging from Miller's account of her breakfast with Libby, the vice president's man went well beyond the "key judgments" of the NIE. The reference that Saddam was prospecting in Africa for uranium was inserted in the NIE's back pages, along with a dissent from intelligence analysts at the State Department who were "highly dubious" about the report.
A former U.S. intelligence official who declined to speak for the record due to the sensitivity of the matter told news-week that the NIE staff, writing under strict time pressures, adopted a "kitchen sink" approach, throwing in all sorts of reports that had not been fully vetted.

The dissenting opinions were included in the declassified NIE released to the press on July 18, 2003. But Libby said nothing about them to Miller when he was leaking to her on July 8.  The filing by Fitzgerald ties Cheney more directly to Libby's leak than any evidence so far.

The article ends by asking whether Libby will want to call Cheney and Bush as witnesses at his trial.  Then they would have to finally answer some questions under oath and on record.  Something that they no doubt want to avoid at all costs.  And something that no doubt would also uncover or confirm parts of what really happened during 2002 and 2003.  Or, with the mountains of testimony and evidence that Fitzgerald already has, prove that Cheney and Bush were knee deep in the middle of this.

And quite probably lying about their roles.

It's good to see that Newsweek is finally joining the party.  Just a few years late, but at this point I'll welcome anyone that decides to actually report the truth.

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