Saturday, April 22, 2006

you just can’t get good help these days

Remember when we used to talk about how the Bush Administration ran such a tight ship and it was virtually impossible to get anyone to talk to anyone off the record or anything like that? Remember?

Well, it is turning out that George & friends has assembled the leakiest administration ever.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday.

Prosecutors disputed the claim.

The allegations against Rice came as a federal judge granted a defense request to issue subpoenas sought by the defense for Rice and three other government officials in the trial of Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman. The two are former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information.

. . . .

The indictment against Rosen and Weissman alleges that three government officials leaked sensitive and sometimes classified national defense information to the two, who subsequently revealed what they learned to the press and to an Israeli government official.

. . . .

[Rosen’s Attorney Abbe] Lowell said it is impossible for Rosen and Weissman to determine what is sensitive national defense information when they are receiving the information from government officials who presumably understand national security law and therefore would not improperly disclose national defense information.

Oh my. How ever is Rice going to fight having to testify under oath? Well, I guess the case could be thrown out of court—as is being considered by US District Judge T.S. Ellis III because the government's entire case is based on a World War I era law that “may be unconstitutionally vague and broad and infringe on freedom of speech.”

But then, what to do about former Pentagon official Lawrence Franklin, who has already
been thrown into jail for leaking to Rosen and Weissman. . . .

All this on a day when the CIA fired a senior career officer, Mary O. McCarthy, for helping expose the agency’s secret overseas gulags. (The leak helped Dana Priest win a Pulitzer for The Washington Post just this week.) My favorite line from the New York Times reporting of this:

The dismissal of Ms. McCarthy provided fresh evidence of the Bush administration's determined efforts to stanch leaks of classified information.

Um, yeah. . . . Hypocrisy, much?


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