April 7, 2006
Read more of William Rivers Pitt's columns
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Friday 07 April 2006
Is there not some chosen curse,
Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven,
Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin?
- Joseph Addison
don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified
information," said George W. Bush on September 30, 2003. "If somebody
did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take
the appropriate action."
someone leaked classified information," said White House Press
Secretary Scott McClellan on October 7, 2003, "the President wants to
know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information,
they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's
not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this
President expects people in his administration to conduct their
like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive
information," said Bush on October 28, 2003. On this same day, Bush
said, "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is,
partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very
good job of protecting the leakers."
On Thursday, we found out who the leaker is.
TruthOut investigative reporter Jason Leopold wrote in the first of two reports
that, "Attorneys and current and former White House officials close to
the investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame
Wilson said Thursday that President Bush gave Vice President Dick
Cheney the authorization in mid-June 2003 to disclose a portion of the
highly sensitive National Intelligence Estimate to Washington Post
reporter Bob Woodward and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller."
In the second of Leopold's reports,
he writes, "Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald stated in a court
filing late Wednesday in the CIA leak case that his investigators have
obtained evidence during the course of the two-year-old probe that
proves several White House officials conspired to discredit former
Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the administration's pre-war Iraq
intelligence. This is the first time the special counsel has
acknowledged that White House officials are alleged to have engaged in
a coordinated effort to undercut the former ambassador's credibility by
disseminating classified intelligence information that would have
contradicted Wilson's public statements."
there it is. We have Bush authorizing the disclosure of classified
information, and we have that disclosure taking place for no other
reason than to discredit an administration critic. Bush is often fond
of defending his wildly inappropriate and often illegal activities by
claiming that he has every right to do whatever he wants because
America is "at war."
mind that no war has actually been declared. If we take his premise
that we are in fact at war, than the disclosure of classified
information for political gain must be defined simply and directly.
It is treason.
Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, made
the following statement on Thursday. "Leaking classified information to
the press when you want to get your side out or silence your critics is
not appropriate. The reason we classify things is to protect our
sources - those who risk their lives to give us secrets. Who knows how
many sources were burned by giving Libby this 'license to leak?' If I
had leaked the information, I'd be in jail. Why should the President be
above the law?"
President has the legal authority to declassify information," continued
Harman, "but there are normal channels for doing so. Telling an aide to
leak classified information to the New York Times is not a normal
channel. A normal declassification procedure would involve going back
to the originating agency, such as the CIA, and then putting out a
public, declassified version of the document. I am stunned that the
President won't tell the full the Intelligence Committee about the NSA
program because he's allegedly concerned about leaks, when it turns out
that he is the Leaker-in-Chief."
can even take this a step further. The name of covert CIA operative
Valerie Plame was all over the classified National Intelligence
Estimate Bush ordered to be leaked. The pertinent text of the 1947
National Security Act reads as follows:
601. (50 U.S.C. 421) (a) Whoever, having or having had authorized
access to classified information that identifies a covert agent,
intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent
to any individual not authorized to receive classified information,
knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent
and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal
such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States,
shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not
more than ten years, or both.
(b) Whoever, as a result of having
authorized access to classified information, learns the identity of a
covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying
such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive
classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so
identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking
affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence
relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18,
United States Code, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify
and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such
activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities
of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an
individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to
receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed
so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking
affirmative measures to conceal such individual's classified
intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under
title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than three years
W. Bush and his people lied with their bare faces hanging out about the
existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
lied about connections between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, lied
about Iraqi connections to September 11, and further lied about the
threat to America posed by Iraq.
made a decision to invade that had nothing to do with those weapons,
and even conspired with their British counterparts to goad Hussein into
a war regardless of whether the weapons were there or not.
used September 11 against the American people to frighten them into a
fearfully subservient acceptance of the invasion.
bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to spy
illegally on thousands of American citizens.
leaked classified intelligence information in order to destroy a
political foe, and in the process annihilated an intelligence network
run by Valerie Plame. That network, it should be noted, was dedicated
to tracking any person, nation or group that would deliver weapons of
mass destruction to terrorists.
time they broke the law, their cronies in Congress manipulated those
laws to make the actions taken legal.
of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead. Tens of thousands more have
been maimed. Millions live with the wretched deprivations caused by
this war. The new Shia-dominated government wants no part of American
involvement in this, and their so-called armed forces are in truth
death squads masquerading as police and soldiers.
American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, with 17 of those deaths
coming in the first six days of April alone. Tens of thousands more
have been grievously wounded; nearly two thirds of all injuries
suffered by American soldiers in Iraq are brain injuries, and amount to
will be generations digging out from under the vomitous refuse left
behind by this administration. From this day forward, any politician
who claims that censure is not appropriate and impeachment is a waste
of time should have their head examined by a whole team of medical
experts. Bush and his people have committed treason, and did so for the
lowest of reasons: personal gain and political protection.
dead cannot cry out for justice," said Lois McMaster Bujold. "It is a
duty of the living to do so for them." So very many have died at the
hands of this administration, its lies, and its crimes. If there is to
be no reckoning for this, even after all this time, there will never
again be a person in America who can speak of justice while
keeping a straight face.
William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.