Friday, 10 October 2003 - 11:22 AM CDT
President Bush Presents Two-Faced R
http://President Bush Presents Two-Faced Reaction to Na
President Bush Presents Two-Faced Reaction to National Security Leaks
President Bush clearly believes in a double standard when it comes to holding accountable those insiders who divulge classified information.
When someone on Capitol Hill leaked information in 2001 President Bush personally called congressional leaders to tell them, "This can't stand. We can't have leaks of classified information. It's not in our nation's interest."1 In the case of a White House official who revealed the identity of an undercover CIA operative this summer, however, Bush has been nonchalant, saying "this is a large administration, and there's a lot of senior officials . . . I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is."2
With the congressional case Bush's press secretary, Ari Fleischer, warned that leaks can put lives at risk: "The President wants to make certain that all people in government are protected, so that nobody can make any mistakes and put anybody else's life in danger."3
But now that a CIA operative's cover has actually been blown neither the President nor his staff have expressed any concern. Bush said he has "no plans"4 to call for the leaker on his staff to come forward. Indeed, White House have left open the possibility they may act to protect the leaker, suggesting they may invoke executive privilege if the facts warrant it.5
1. Joint Press Conference, 10/9/01.
2. Joint Press Conference, 10/06/02.
3. Press Briefing, 10/9/01.
4. "Bush Aides Say They'll Cooperate With Probe Into Intelligence Leak," Washington Post, 9/29/03, p. A01.
5. "Leaker May Remain Elusive, Bush Suggests," New York Times, 10/8/03.