This week we learned that "Scooter" Libby's leaks were approved by none other than the president himself. Has anyone noticed how quickly the press brushed off any suggestion of George Bush's legal culpability?
We expect hard-core Republicans and self-appointed religious leaders (and John McCain) to rush to the president's defense -- but we can hope for a higher standard from the professional, unbiased press corps, right?
After all, corporate bosses pay the salaries of our blow-dried practitioners of a "free press" -- those lusty voices who cheered the loudest for war in 2002 and 2003; who tussled for resume-enhancing positions of imbededness with the invading American troops; who peed their pants in hilarity at the wit and wisdom of Rummy's every rumination; and who gushed at every "shock and awe" explosion over Iraq -- all while thousands of innocents died at the hands of George Bush.
Now, no big surprise, we see the so-called liberal press proclaim, ad nauseum, that Bush has broken no laws, and that "no one is even accusing him" of ignoring the law. They describe the president's involvement in the CIA-gate scandal as nothing more than a really, really, big ol' political misstep that makes the president look oh-so bad because of his "perceived hypocrisy" (but mainly because the Iraq war is so going poorly, they deduce in their collective wisdom).
The public is expected to believe that Mr. Bush, out of necessity, leaked only to inform us of everything we ever needed to know to support his grand adventure. Anyone who questions his motives was, and is, according to mouthpiece Scottie, "playing crass politics."
To Bush supporters (and much of the press, evidently) it's not illegal -- it's not even "crass politics" -- that the president cherrypicked the intelligence he used to mislead the country into war, then secretly dispensed even more "selected" intelligence in a plot calculated to discredit and destroy anyone who questioned his previous misuse of intelligence.
Excuse me. What could possibly be more crass -- even illegal -- than that?
To say the leaked material was no longer classified at the time of its leaking -- because the president had given his boys permission to do, in secret, whatever was necessary to discredit his critics -- is a distinction without a difference. By that logic, leaking classified information is, in itself, the act of declassification. The public release, several days later, of a token amount of previously classified material ("laundered" for political effect, as usual) was nothing more than a smokescreen to provide legal cover, retroactively, to the leaker-in-chief and his team of tricksters.
Let's face it: Mr. Libby was not flying solo when he dribbled the president's leakage all over Washington. An expert on intelligence matters and government secrecy, Mr. Libby would not have taken lightly the prospect of losing his reputation and being dragged off to prison. He would not have committed perjury simply to cover up the leaking of insignificant amounts of supposedly harmless data that the president had already declassified.
Libby's behavior, and that of his bosses in feigning outrage at their own leaks, in allowing a reporter to spend months in jail, and in leaving Libby exposed to criminal charges, suggests that our current knowledge of improper conduct and its coverup hardly scratches the surface of embarrassing, unethical, and illegal activities of the president and his inner circle.
If this scandal was an isolated event for the Bush administration, perhaps people could be fooled one more time. It is not.
- Where are the heads of the 35% of Americans still giving George Bush high marks for job performance?
- Does that blind support include the heads of corporate media?
- Does anyone need help answering questions 1 and 2?