All of this brings us to the latest trumped-up outrage against the beleaguered President Bush -- that he leaked classified information involving sensitive national security information. But once again, the charge is false. Yes, Bush apparently authorized the public disclosure of certain information, but he first declassified it -- meaning, by definition, it was impossible for him to have illegally leaked it. Plus, he had every justification, and some would argue a duty, to publicize it -- because the public should know the truth about these claims, especially since its support for the war is affected by the "Bush lied" ruse.
You know the basics. President Bush was accused by the liberals' then latest darling, Joe Wilson, of manipulating intelligence to hype the Iraqi WMD threat. Specifically, Wilson claimed Bush lied in his State of the Union address in asserting the British had learned Iraq was trying to purchase yellow cake uranium from Africa. This supposedly outraged Wilson, who had traveled to Niger for the CIA, investigated the charge and reported that it was groundless.
But Mr. Wilson -- like Clinton's lawyers -- was the one guilty of the distortions in several particulars. According to the British Butler Report and the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee, Wilson's findings did not debunk the Saddam-Niger connection, and, if anything, substantiated it. The Senate Intelligence Committee, let's not forget, also caught Wilson in the bald-faced lie that he had discredited certain forged documents that were not even discovered until eight months after his trip.
Just as the left distorted Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of Scooter Libby as proof that he intentionally "outed" a covert CIA operative (Valerie Plame), when it was not (Fitzgerald did not indict Libby on the "underlying" charge), they are now saying the same thing about Bush.
But Fitzgerald himself, according to the Washington Post, which published a refreshing editorial defending Bush on these leak charges, stated that Bush did not authorize the leak of Plame's identity.
Libby's motive in identifying Plame was to refute another Wilson tall tale: that Vice President Cheney had arranged for his trip to Niger, when it was Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, who had recommended him for the mission.
Unlike Ken Starr, President Bush had the authority to declassify secret information that would not just clear him of false charges but help set the record straight concerning matters involving our national security.
The constant "avalanche of lies" against Bush has damaged the national interest. President Bush was justified in doing what he could to repair that damage.
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