Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Look Before You Leak [a rant]

"A Good Leak." That's how last Sunday's Washington Post editorial page described the president's rather unusual decision to selectively reveal classified information to a handful of friendly journalists.

(To me 'a good leak' means something else entirely, but I'll restrain myself.)

Mr. Bush, it seems, is an honest guy with good intentions who's been victimized by the Democrats' "hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy."

There's really no need to describe how astoundingly dumb that editorial was, or to note that, on the front page of that very newspaper, reporters detailed the White House's coordinated effort to smear Joe Wilson. Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake has already dissected every subclause, refuted every argument, shredded it into tiny pieces, beat it into a pulpy mash, sent it through a particle accelerator and stomped on any neutrinos that managed to escape.

The Post editorial page apparently believes Saddam has nuclear weapons hidden in his prison cell, Papillon style (if you know what I mean).

The big leak was really more like a few dribbles: a couple of paragraphs on page 24 of a 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that suggested Saddam had tried to procure weapons-grade uranium. The leak apparently didn't include the State Department's extreme dubiousness about those paragraphs (also part of the same NIE), or the fact that such claims had been written off as fiction long ago by radical peaceniks like George Tenet and Colin Powell.

This wasn't a leak so much as a pre-emptive attack -- an attempt to keep the lie afloat that the Leaker in Chief kept us safe from Saddam's nukes, before Joe Wilson went public with his New York Times Op Ed. Unfortunately for Bush Inc., that dog wouldn't hunt.

Bob Woodward was the first to be given a peak at the goods on June 27, 2003. But this information apparently had such a stink on it that Watergate Bob gave it a pass. Next they tried Judy Miller, but even WMD Judy wouldn't suck at that tit. So they turned to their most reliable lapdog still working for a major media outlet, Bob "No Facts" Novak.

After Novak's nepotism story created a total shitstorm, someone in the White House must have realized they'd better get the NIE out to the rest of the press before a real reporter discovered the leak. Hence the "official release" on July 18, 2003. This is what the Post called "the president ... releasing for public review some of the intelligence he used in making his most momentous decision."

If nothing else, you have to admire the Bushies' chutzpah. Who else would dare to use trumped up discredited evidence of nukes to counter the accusation that they had used trumped up discredited evidence of nukes? It was brilliantly twisted.

The world hasn't seen mendacity this broad and deep coming out of the White House since the early 1970s. Back then, the Washington Post helped to bring down a president. Now its graybeard editors sit on the sidelines, applauding.

Somewhere deep in the bowels of hell, Richard Nixon is smiling.


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