CLASSIFIED LEAKS AS POLITICAL WEAPONS….Did George Bush authorize Scooter Libby to disclose classified information to the New York Times in 2003, as Libby alleges? Oddly enough, it turns out the White House isn’t denying it:
A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation, said Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done. The official said Bush authorized the release of the classified information to assure the public of his rationale for war as it was coming under increasing scrutiny.
So Bush did know about the leak, and he did authorize it. What’s more, his excuse is a simple one: he wanted to defend himself against attacks on his war policy, so it was OK.
That’s exactly what happened, but it’s remarkable that he’s willing to admit it. Basically, Bush is saying that it’s all right for him to selectively leak classified information whenever he feels it would help him politically.
Are conservatives OK with this? Should presidents be allowed to leak classified information whenever they’re under pressure and need to strike back at their opponents? Even Richard Nixon didn’t believe that (in 1960, anyway).