Thursday, April 06, 2006

President Unlimited

Both Andrew Sullivan and The Cunning Realist have noted the hypocrisy of the Bush administration in its consistent power grab.

Sullivan blogs:
"There's a lot of leaking in Washington, D.C. It's a town famous for it. This investigation in finding the truth, it will not only hold someone to account who should not have leaked — and this is a serious charge, by the way. We're talking about a criminal action, but also hopefully will help set a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop, as well. And so I look forward to finding the truth," - President George W. Bush, October 7, 2003.

"Q: But can you confirm that the President would fire anyone on his staff found to have leaked classified information?

McClellan: I think I made that very clear last week. The topic came up, and I said that if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration." - White House press conference, October 6, 2003.

The president's self-defense at this point must be that if he, the president, decides to leak classified information, like the NIE assessment, then, by definition, it isn't a classified leak. POTUS gets to decide what is and isn't classified. And so he cannot commit the wrong or crime he decries in others. He can break no secrets because the secrets are his to break. He is above the law because, in terms of executive privilege, he is the law.
The Cunning Realist notes:
Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There's leaks at the executive branch; there's leaks in the legislative branch. There's just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.

President Bush 9/30/03

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

New York Sun 4/6/06
But this goes well beyond just a president willing to bend the truth and omit pertinent details for his political standing. This is a carefully constructed alteration of our chief executive -- made more chilling, if that is even possible, by the desire to create a decades long Republican majority.

In February, V.P. Dick Cheney raised eyebrows:W
ASHINGTON Feb 16, 2006 (AP)— Vice President Dick Cheney says he has the power to declassify government secrets, raising the possibility that he authorized his former chief of staff to pass along sensitive prewar data on Iraq to reporters.

Cheney coupled his statement in a TV interview Wednesday with an endorsement of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, his ex-aide. Libby is under indictment on charges of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about disclosing the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.
There have been other clues, which now must be seen in the most alarming light.

The Washington Post 1/2/2006: "Alito Once Made Case For Presidential Power"

Sandy Levinson from that day:
Several days ago, I posted a comment suggesting that the Alito nomination was part of a plot designed to reinforce Executive power and that the issue in particular of abortion was designed to serve as a distraction.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and I said that if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration.

I think the time has come...Bush needs to fire himself, and his little Veep too.

9:50 PM  
Blogger zen said...

So this idea that the president or the VP can at a whim declassify information is nonsense. Besides the point that there is a process to the declassification of secret documents or information, the issue remains that this administration used classified, or deliberately declassified information, intentionally for political purposes. And that purpose was to retailate and smear a critic of their bogus reasoning that took the country to war.
What does this say about the lengths this group will go to in order to push their agenda. So the initial crimes were bad enough, but now we have the unfolding of the cover-ups and obstruction. I'm afraid to ask what's the next step to distract, spin, or cover-up the truth?
And further, what will the co-equal branches of our government do to ensure that they actually are co-equal and a check on the rampant abuse of power?

10:54 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

This is more King than president.

12:02 PM  

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