Sunday, April 09, 2006

Washington Post Defends President's Actions [link]

Ok, I wrote below that the Administration did nothing wrong when it authorized the disclosure of information in the national intelligence estimate. You may not believe me, but how about the editiorial page of the Washington Post?

In a column entitled, "A Good Leak," the Post writes:

PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

Rather than follow the usual declassification procedures and then invite reporters to a briefing -- as the White House eventually did -- Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter. The full public disclosure followed 10 days later. There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual about that; nor is this presidentially authorized leak necessarily comparable to other, unauthorized disclosures that the president believes, rightly or wrongly, compromise national security. Nevertheless, Mr. Cheney's tactics make Mr. Bush look foolish for having subsequently denounced a different leak in the same controversy and vowing to "get to the bottom" of it.

I always assign extra credibility when a source is generally hostile to a comment's subject. The Post has been reliably hostile to the Bush Administration. This column is not without its barbs, but it provides a clear statement that there is nothing behind this story, regardless of how much the liberal Dems and the Kos-sacks complain.

The Post seems to be embarrassed by its past association with Joe Wilson. In discussing the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the Post writes:

In last week's court filings, [Fitzgerald] stated that Mr. Bush did not authorize the leak of Ms. Plame's identity. Mr. Libby's motive in allegedly disclosing her name to reporters, Mr. Fitzgerald said, was to disprove yet another false assertion, that Mr. Wilson had been dispatched to Niger by Mr. Cheney. In fact Mr. Wilson was recommended for the trip by his wife. Mr. Libby is charged with perjury, for having lied about his discussions with two reporters. Yet neither the columnist who published Ms. Plame's name, Robert D. Novak, nor Mr. Novak's two sources have been charged with any wrongdoing.

As Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out at the time of Mr. Libby's indictment last fall, none of this is particularly relevant to the question of whether the grounds for war in Iraq were sound or bogus. It's unfortunate that those who seek to prove the latter would now claim that Mr. Bush did something wrong by releasing for public review some of the intelligence he used in making his most momentous decision.

Hopefully this "scandal" will pass into oblivion. But, the tin-foil-hat brigades will add this to their litany of "sins" committed by this White House.


Blogger Chief RZ said...

Correct, same story I have seen elsewhere.
Did you see this:

4:56 PM  

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