LEAKY….Several other people have already mentioned this in passing today ? some more directly than others ? but it’s something that’s worth saying plainly: what is the Bush administration’s policy about leaking/releasing classified information? They seem to have no problem with routinely leaking or releasing selected portions of classified data if it helps them or hurts their opponents. Just off the top of my head, here’s what they’ve done recently:
In response to Joe Wilson’s allegation last year that George Bush deceived the country about Iraq’s supposed attempts to get uranium yellowcake from Africa, two “senior administration officials” outed his wife Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative.
High-res video of Osama bin Laden taken in late 2000 was leaked to NBC’s Lisa Meyers last week, apparently in a preemptive attempt to show that Bill Clinton had a chance to take bin Laden out but didn’t. This is a guess on my part, but isn’t this kind of video among the most sensitive intelligence data we possess? Despite this, the White House seemed remarkably unconcerned that it showed up on the evening news.
On Wednesday, in response to charges in Dick Clarke’s recently published book, the White House took the unusual step of allowing Fox News to publish an August 2002 briefing that was originally done off the record.
Also on Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice read to reporters the “unclassified sentences” of an email Clarke sent to her shortly after 9/11.
I’m sure I’ve missed some examples, so feel free to fill them in in comments.
Now, I know that Washington is a leaky town and that people who play there are playing in the big leagues. But it still seems as though the Bush White House plays this game a little more aggressively than most, releasing or leaking all manner of classified information if it’s helpful to their cause but holding it back for “national security reasons” if it isn’t. Does this remind you of anyone?