From Firedoglake today:
The American public may have a short attention span about certain stories in the news - tending to go for the more sensational over the intricate detail sorts. But they understand one thing very clearly: liars and hypocrites make for a good storyline. Especially when the liar or hypocrite has previously wagged his finger at them on television and proclaimed that he deplores that thing which, ultimately, we find out he has in truth done.We've arrived in a completely amazing place, deep through the looking glass where the President can brazenly accuse people who perform the public service of Whistle-blowing an Illegal Surveillance Program as "Leakers", yet do an amazing about face when releasing classified information in order to debunk the TRUTH - and claim that isn't a "Leak". Oh, really?
First there is the fact that the President didn't follow standard declassification procedure when he authorized Libby to talk to Judith Miller about the NIE.
I worked in a secure environment under to perview of the DOD for 12 years. From that experience I know that all classifed documents are clearly Marked as such, and that any changes in classification require that these documentes either be re-marked, or destroyed and re-created with the new classificaiton - yet there is no indication that this took place an July 10th when Scooter talked to Judy.
Scott McClennan was asked about this.
Q Back when the NIE was released on July 18, 2003, you were asked that day when that had been actually declassified. And you said in that gaggle that it had been declassified that day. And if that's the case, then when the information was passed on to the reporter 10 days earlier, then it was still classified at that time.
Of course, Scotty ducked the question - but his answer is revealing in that he links it to the "ongoing investigation" and that means that persons involved in sharing that information, and violating standard classification procedure just might include the President and Vice President.
So it remains an open question as to whether the information given to Judy was technically still classified or not, and the Presidents Press Secretary has not denied that it was.
Then there is the fact that the information itself was quite suspect.
From the NYTimes.
WASHINGTON, April 8 -- President Bush's apparent order authorizing a senior White House official to reveal to a reporter previously classified intelligence about Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain uranium came as the information was already being discredited by several other officials in the administration, interviews and documents from the time show.
In short, in that NIE the INR had questioned the legitimacy of Niger documents, and suspected they might be forgeries. There were also doubts from the Energy Dept. about the intended use of the Aliminum Tubes that Iraq had purchased.
Did Libby release this?
The truth remained classified while Libby (illegaly) released the same set of lies that most of Congress had seen. Senator Bob Graham saw more than most, and he was troubled by what he saw.
At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used senatorial authority, I directed the completion of an NIE.
So even if Hussein had the weapons the NIE stated that he would only use them in self-defense, and what did we do? We attacked him.
Did Libby share this with Judy?
According to Scotty, this is what he did.
But let's go back to the time period that you're talking about, because I think it's important for the public to know or recall that time period.
Now, let's look at the "leakers" that the President has railed against - people like Russel Tice.
Former NSA intelligence agent Russell Tice condemns reports that the Agency has been engaged in eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without court warrants. Tice has volunteered to testify before Congress about illegal black ops programs at the NSA. Tice said, "The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.
So people like Russel Tice have come forward and tried to end violations of FISA, yet what has the Administration had to say about them?
Q The purpose of releasing portions of this clearly had a political implication for the administration. There is a debate going on, and you wanted to counter that debate. And, yet, you're criticizing Democrats, saying that they are engaging in crass politics for saying that they're -- that this was leaking. How do you not see that there was a --
Let me get this straight, disclosing that the Administartion is failing it's Constitutional Duty and Legal Requirements under FISA to obtain Warrants - even three days after they begin eavesdropping - is bad.
But perpetuating lies about non-existence weapons in order to justify an unprovoked war - is good.
Welcome to bizarro world people. I know we've been here for a while now, but sometimes looking back at exactly where we are is simply startling.
And it looks like our first exit of this insane highway will be in November 2006. Maybe.