Friday, October 20, 2006


Well, well. The Dems are "appalled" and outraged. Not by the possibility that one of their own may have leaked classified info about the war to damage President Bush, of course. But by the suspension of an unnamed Dem staffer over concerns that he/she may have leaked National Intelligence Estimate summary findings to the NYTimes last month:

Democrats say the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee had no grounds to suspend a staff member who's come under scrutiny for the leak of a secret intelligence assessment.

The unidentified staff member, a Democrat, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review, Hoekstra's spokesman, Jamal Ware, said Thursday.

The Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Jane Harman of California, wrote to Hoekstra that she was "appalled" by his action, which was "without basis."

... In her letter, Harman demanded that Hoekstra "immediately reinstate the staffer's access to classified information."

A conference call to the committee's nine Democrats on Wednesday to inform them of the aide's suspension prompted outrage, said two congressional officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about internal committee business.

Here's a flashback to Harman's comments back in April in a debate with Rep. Hoekstra on Fox News Sunday regarding intelligence leaks (hat tip: reader Joe):

WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, let's change subjects. I want to talk to you about leaks, because the CIA dismissed a senior officer this week, apparently reportedly a veteran named Mary McCarthy, for leaking classified information to reporters including material about secret U.S. prisons overseas for terror suspects.

Congresswoman, after it came out that the president had authorized the disclosure, partial disclosure, of the National Intelligence Estimate about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you had the following to say, and let's put it up on the screen. "The president is revealed as the Leaker in Chief."

Congresswoman, do you really see any comparison between these two actions?

HARMAN: You bet I do. I don't know this woman, and I do not condone leaks of classified information. However, while leaks are wrong, I think it is totally wrong for our president, in secret, to selectively declassify certain information and empower people in his White House to leak it to favored reporters so that they can discredit political enemies.

That is wrong. That is unprecedented. I've never, ever heard about that happening in another administration, and it's a double standard.

WALLACE: But, Congresswoman Harman, isn't there a big difference? She was breaking the law. He wasn't.

HARMAN: Well, he wasn't breaking the law because the president claims to have power that no one else has. And he should be reminded that the Constitution starts with Article I, not Article II.

The inherent powers of the presidency are not unlimited. He's been ignoring Congress. He's been refusing to brief the full Intelligence Committees on the NSA program. I think that's a violation of law.

Presumably he's doing that because he's afraid we will leak, and yet he and his administration are the ones who leak selectively. And so I am not condoning what this woman allegedly did in the CIA. Of course, I'm not condoning that. But I think having a double standard is absolutely wrong.

WALLACE: Congressman Hoekstra?

HOEKSTRA: Well, it's clearly not a double standard. The president, the executive branch, but especially the Office of the President — the courts have clearly said they have the responsibility and the authority to decide what is classified and what is not classified.

This person in the CIA thought that they were above the law. They thought that the law did not apply to them. They have put America at risk. They have put our troops on the front lines at risk because they broke the law.

That is exactly — you know, you're exactly right. They broke the law. They're above the law. It's wrong. You know, and the country and our troops are at greater risk because of the decisions that this person made.

Thorough background on the McCarthy leak from Allah here. Read/re-read the whole thing.



Bombshell: Democratic staff dripper?
9/25/06 About that National Intelligence Estimate
9/26/06 The NIE
9/27/07 Who is Paul Pillar?

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