As we know, Cheney’s assistant, Scooter Libby, leaked information to the Royal Stenographer, Dame Judith Miller, at The New York Times. The Times dutifully published it.
W's role in leaking classified inormation to the Times is surprising on a lot of different levels. The most obvious is that King George has just recently reacted to the publication (in the same New York Times) of an article revealing that the administration is tracking financial transactions in an effort to obtain intelligence for use in the war on terror.
He called the publication “disgraceful” and averred that it did “great harm” to the country. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, argues that The Times should be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act.
It is obvious that the Rovians are trying to make the Grey Lady into the next Willie Horton. Will it work?
It is still too early to tell, but I am pessimistic. The Times gets to make its case only to readers of the Times, whereas the president has a pulpit from which to be a bully. The key will be whether or not other newspapers recognize this assault on the First Amendment and respond appropriately. The early returns are not encouraging.
The Wall Street Journal editorial page revealed that the same story had been leaked to them by officials at the Treasury Department:
What Journal editors did know is that they had senior government officials providing news they didn't mind seeing in print. If this was a “leak,” it was entirely authorized.The WSJ editors went on to say that they don’t believe that the NYT editors act in good faith when deciding whether or not to publish an article that may be embarrassing to the administration, and concluded that the editor of the Times “has as a major goal not winning the war on terror but obstructing it.”
Luckily, most people know that the editorial page of the WSJ is a right-wing house organ for neo-con con-men. We await the weighing in of newspapers from the middle of America.
Hopefully, some of them will note that when the administration makes claims that national security demands secrecy, it suffers from a lack of credibility that is of its own making.
When the NYT published, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” by Joe Wilson, the administration committed treason to discredit Wilson, who, it should be noted, told the truth. The Bush-boys probably endangered the life of several CIA agents working in non-proliferation. The orders came from King George and Dead-eye Dick. Thus, if the editors at the NYT were skeptical of the administration, well, that’s what they get paid to be.
There’s a good chance – better than 50-50 – that the story will just die of its own accord in a day or two. Then what? Will other newspapers have felt the chilling effect of the onslaught against the Times? Will the Republican base have had a taste of red meat, so that come election day, they will arrive at the polls snarling and angry? Will others buy into the attack on the Times, so that when it reveals the next outrage, it will be that much easier for the neo-fascists to marginalize her?
In all of this, I find the most interesting part to be that the President claims that the publication of the article revealed secrets to “the enemy.” It is hard to imagine that, after the President himself had bragged that his administration was doing everything possible to track financial transactions of possible terrorists, that the terrorists have learned any “actionable” intelligence.
Perhaps the explanation is this: Diane Feinstein was on Stephanopoulos yesterday, and this is what she said:
Well, I’m on the Intelligence Committee. I can tell you when I was briefed and when the committee was briefed — and that was when it became apparent that the New York Times had the story and was going to run it. And that’s when and why they came to us and briefed us.So, there you have it! The enemies who found out about the program are not the bastards in Al Qaeda. They are the Democrats in Congress.
“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”