E. J. Dionne Jr. on All the President's Leaks:
In its issue of Oct. 13, 2003, Time magazine quoted Bush as saying: "Listen, I know of nobody -- I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information." Then the magazine's writers made an observation that turns out to be prescient: "Bush," they wrote, "seemed to emphasize those last two words as if hanging on to a legal life preserver in choppy seas."
The key words here are classified information. Did Bush at the time he made that statement know perfectly well that Cheney and Libby were involved with the leak, but that it didn't involve "classified information" because the president himself had authorized them to act? Talk about a legalistic defense.
Could it be that Bush -- heading into what he knew would be a difficult election -- was creating the impression of wanting the full story out when he already knew what most of the story was?
Which leads to another question: What exactly did Attorney General John Ashcroft know when he recused himself from the leak investigation? Did he know the investigation was getting dangerously close to Bush, Cheney, Libby and White House senior political adviser Karl Rove?