It really does get confusing sometimes when you wake up in the morning and watch cable news.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide testified that President Bush authorized the release of parts of a classified report on Iraq to rebut criticism of the case for the 2003 invasion, federal prosecutors disclosed in documents released Thursday.
"I want to know the truth," the president continued. "Leaks of classified information are bad things."
He added that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."
I guess that is technically true, depending on what your definition of is is.
There are some interesting side angles to this. The president has the ability to automatically declassify things. If says it is no longer classified, then it is no longer classified. He also says he has given this power (uh?) to VP Dick Cheney. I'm pretty sure he can't do that, but I'll argue that another time.
The point here is that he authorized the release of "certain information" to discredit a political critic that was classified. At least that is what Scooter Libby has testified. But, this whole time he has been saying the complete opposite. This puts him in more than an embarassing position.
This shows, very clearly, what some of us more vocal critics have been saying for some time, President Bush is a LIAR.
I can understand why his supporters have quibbled in the past. There was minutiae involved, there was a question of whether the Clear Skies Act actually cleaned the air and whatnot. But this, this is about as black and white as it gets. He told an aide to leak classified information to the NY Times in order to undermine a political foe. Not for national security, but for politics. Then, when the sh-- hit the fan, he disavowed any knowledge and let an investigation go on for two years without saying anything.
Then, when the chief of staff of the vice president was implicated, he let him fall on his own sword rather than speak the truth. That's because the man cares more for himself than the truth and the American people's right to know the truth about what he is doing in their name.
The line of prosecution cannot be followed any further. If the president tells someone to leak classified information to the press, then it is no longer classified. There is no crime there. The president ordering that, especially for political reasons, is obviously morally bankrupt, but it is not criminal.
Libby's problems arise from perjuring himself in front of the grand jury to keep this a secret from the public and for obstructing justice in the furtherance of the investigation. I would wonder if the president or the vice president are liable for also obstructing justice, if in fact this is all true and if they ordered Libby to help them keep this secret. That is a conspiracy to obstruct justice.
I don't think Karl Rove fits into this very much, other than he may also have been told to leak the information. No charges have been brought against him. He was in some hot water, but he appears to have gotten out and lived to tell the tale.