It comes as absolutely no surprise to anyone paying attention that Scooter Libby has now admitted that the President authorized the release of information that lead to the outing of Valerie Plame. Now that this information has been reported on, Republican pundits are in overdrive mode looking for any excuse to downplay this realization.
The current attempt at defusing the issue is to suggest that nothing illegal happened because President Bush acted within his rights (rights which he seems to create as he goes along) by declassifying, on the fly, the information that was provided to New York Times‘ reporter Judith Miller.
For a party that continually attempts to claim the moral high ground, the Republicans seem to continually find themselves mired in situations that beg us to question if they know about the concept of glass houses and rocks not being a good mix.
First, why is it that we never heard anything about this convenient declassification of critical information until now? The answer is that we only heard about it at this point because the process forced it to the surface which, in turn, forced the administration to admit that the President was directly involved in this entire affair. Prior to this we were told, time and time again, that no one in the administration was involved in this. That circle kept getting smaller as time went on and has now fully closed at the very top of the chain.
Second, has anyone yet offered up proof of some sort of official declassifaction process? Is the process so flexible that if the President simply decides to share our nuclear secrets with his neighbor that his opening his mouth constitutes an official declassification? Where’s the paper trail?
Third, it doesn’t matter, at the heart of it, if the process was legal or not. The point is that we expect more from a President, especially one being sold to us as being so morally bound and centered. To suggest that this President Bush and Vice President Cheney didn’t know exactly what the outcome of their actions would be is ludicrous.
The bottom line is that their actions were motivated by vindictiveness, retribution and politics. Bush and Cheney knew full well that releasing the information in question would, in turn, result in the exposure of Joe Wilson‘s wife. If they didn’t know then that raises an even bigger concern about their competency to hold the offices they hold.
At this point the entire defense of the administration on this issue is hinged entirely on semantics that sound every bit as ridiculous as asking us to define what the definition of “is” is.