Friday, April 07, 2006

If Dubya does it, it is illegal.

From Chris Matthews to Al Franken, pundits and commentators have naively accepted the proposition that if the President of the United States authorizes the leaking of classified information, then that information is ipso facto no longer classified. That proposition gained some face validity when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endorsed it.

Big Mitch says, "Fiddle-faddle!"

How do I come to that conclusion? Ask yourself this question: if after Scooter Libby had leaked selective parts of the National Security Estimate to the Royal Stenographer, Judith Miller, could anyone else have obtained the document with a Freedom of Information Request?

Did anyone at the CIA know that the document had been de-classified? The Presidential Order controlling such things requires notice to the classifying entity. Was it supplied? Later, when George Tenet de-classified the same document, why did nobody say, “Isn’t this a bit redundant?”

As a matter of fact, I am not the only one wondering about that last one. After I wrote those words, I checked how Scott McClellan was doing as the White House Press Secretary, otherwise known as the Prevaricateur Royale. Here's the first question, and part of his answer:
Question: 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.

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think you're referring -- a couple of things. First of all, it was publicly released that day, so that's when a portion of the National Intelligence Estimate that we were making available to the public was released.
At the 2004 Republican National Convention, which nominated George W. Bush, Arnold Schwartzenegger said that it was his admiration for Richard Nixon that made him choose to be a Republican. Now would be a good time to review the disgraced President’s view of presidential power, as expressed in his famous interview with David Frost, May 19, 1977:
FROST: So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

NIXON: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

FROST: By definition.

NIXON: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law.
Is there some reason that impeachment was considered for Nixon but not for Bush? I am just asking.

Why is it so hard to accept the obvious? George Bush is a criminal and a threat to national security. He must go.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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