Sunday, April 09, 2006

A willfully ignorant editorial re. Joseph Wilson's "deceptive claims" !!!!

From San Diego Union-Tribune :

Mess gets worse
Leak order another black eye for Bush
April 8, 2006

The reports Thursday – uncontradicted by the White House – that former White House aide Lewis Libby testified he had divulged details of a secret National Intelligence Estimate to New York Times reporter Judith Miller at the behest of President Bush is inescapably embarrassing for this administration.

Yes, there is a case to be made that this didn't involve illegal leaking, since the president arguably can declassify what he wants.

Yes, the White House had cause to leak – to counter the deceptive claims of former U.S. diplomat Joseph C. Wilson that in the run-up to the Iraq war, the Bush team lied about Saddam Hussein's pursuit of uranium in Africa for nuclear weapons.

Yes, there is no evidence Bush authorized the outing of Wilson's wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame, which prompted the hiring of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

But none of this can rationalize the hypocrisy evident in the White House's long-standing claim to be appalled by any leaks involving national security, whether they dealt with Plame, Iraq, Iran, Israel, you name it.

The parsing has already begun – some Republicans note the president only decried the leaking of “classified” information. If that's the best they can do, they should give up. Bush was being asked about Plame. If he avoided giving revealing answers by using the smarmy tactics of his predecessor, that is nothing to crow about.

What's baffling is that if the administration had hard proof of Wilson's deceptions – which were later confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee – why didn't it just say so on the record? Using Libby didn't work. Remember, Judith Miller never wrote a story about his disclosures.

The last thing George W. Bush needs is new doubts about his administration's honesty. But now there are new doubts – and he has only himself to blame.


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