Bloomberg takes the piss out of the Bush White House:
By not denying Libby's bombshell, the White House last week more or less confirmed that the person the president swore would be punished for leaking classified information was himself, and that his oft-stated wish to find the leaker, in a bad parody of O.J. Simpson, had been achieved.Wild accusations, Scottie? The information Joe Wilson brought back from Niger was TRUE!
Confronted with this revelation at a press briefing Friday, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan split hairs. The president didn't leak classified information, he "shared information" - ipso facto, information is no longer classified if the president leaks it.
Secondly, McClellan said, by sharing information aimed at batting down "wild accusations" about weapons of mass destruction, the president is acting in the public interest, even if cynics might think he's really acting out of political interest.
Whether the president can leak anything classified at any moment by secret fiat while repeatedly vowing to track down and fire such leakers depends on what you mean by ``declassify'' and ``leak.'' The president didn't publicly report this information. Through Cheney, he sent a top aide off to ``share'' it with a reporter, demanding that she cite a Capitol Hill staffer as the source.And how about this for a bitch-slap?
The president wasn't unaware of the leaks; he was on top of them. And he isn't just a leaker, but a hypocritical one.WHOO HOO! The US press finally tells it like it is at last! Oh, wait, no... it's just an "Opinion Piece" by Margaret Carlson and "the opinions expressed are her own". Still...
It's all of a piece. Since Sept. 11, Bush has acted as if he can do anything he wants because we're at war. How extensive are his war powers and when do they end? When Osama's captured? When the Iraqi Army ``stands up''? Before his term ends? He doesn't say.
And what are those powers? As the president interprets them, he can round up anyone, hold and torture them as enemy combatants without benefit of counsel or trial. He can fudge the number of troops and amount of money needed in Iraq.
He can wiretap anyone without a warrant, even though getting a warrant is swift, is nearly automatic, and can be sought retroactively.
Domestically, he also has a free hand. He can ignore settled scientific judgments (and disband his science board, as he did last week) and make his own intuitive judgments about global warming, stem-cell research and the success of abstinence versus vaccines in reducing sexually transmitted diseases. He can get rid of any government employee who tells Congress or the public the true cost of the prescription-drug bill or his tax cuts.
If there's justice in the world, the clip of Bush's promise to hold the leakers responsible will replace, or at least accompany, every replay of the tape of Bill Clinton's ``I didn't have sexual relations with that woman'' whopper. Bush joins Richard Nixon and O.J. Simpson and all the other Hall of Fame hypocrites who made such a to-do over searching far and wide for the miscreants they saw in the mirror each morning.