The Talking Lion

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Who belongs to that 37%...

I mean, honestly, why is his approval so high? Are tinfoil caps coming back in a big way?

Luckily for the country most Americans aren't buying his explanation of how he declassified the NIE but he had nothing to do with the leaking of misleading segments thereof or Libby identifying himself as "a former Hill staffer":
Overall, 63% of Americans believe Bush did something either illegal (21%) or unethical (42%), while 28% say he did nothing wrong. While many more Democrats are critical, 3 in 10 Republicans also find that Bush did something illegal or unethical.

The more closely people are following the issue, the more likely they are to say he did something illegal rather than merely unethical.

That's good news. It's jut unfortunate that only "25% of Americans are following the matter "very" closely, while another 39% are following the issue "somewhat" closely."

What I think is the coolest part of this recent White House-committed depravity is that this scandal is an embarrassingly public example that Bush and his cabinet (against the advice of professionals and in this case the very document he supposedly declassified) 'cherry-picked intelligence to justify the war.'

If you are part of the 39% who aren't following this at all, here's a brief summary. In response to Joe Wilson, Cheney's chief of staff, Libby, leaked a portion of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to administration friendly reporter, Judith Miller, among others. The NIE is divided into segments with Key Judgements containing the most important and verified information. Libby leaked a part of the NIE that said that Iraq was seeking to obtain yellow cake from Niger. Libby told Miller that this was a Key Judgment which it was not, and in fact, the NIE cast doubt on the Niger claim.

Not only did he misrepresent the NIE, he added that Iraq was
"vigorously trying to procure" uranium; language that is not found in the NIE. So, in order to maintain support for the war, someone authorized or told Libby to selectively leak a misleadingly represented part of a classified document. This is extremely unethical and, depending on the details, criminal (and, for once, the public knows it).

The question then was "was he authorized to leak that classified document, if so by who?" Well, Bush said that he declassified the NIE, but, um, he didn't have anything to do with whatever people are upset about, lol.

Enter Bush's Catch-22 by Anonymous Liberal:

The White House is trying to walk a fine line here. On the one hand, in order to characterize everything as being above board, they are forced to confirm Libby's claim that the President personally authorized the release of information from the NIE, a decision which amounted to de facto "declassification."

On the other hand, they are hoping to distance the President as much as possible from Libby's subsequent actions, i.e., misrepresenting the NIE, asking that the information be attributed to a "former Hill staffer," and outing an undercover CIA agent in the process.

So, after three days, they've settled on their spin: the President authorized discussion of the NIE but left all the details to Cheney and his aides. The problem with this strategy is that Libby was quite specific in his testimony about what he was authorized to say. According to Fitzgerald, Libby testified that he was "specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller."

And as AL points out, that claim is just not in the key judgments.
Because the entire NIE has never been declassified, it very much matters which portions of the document the President claims to have authorized Libby to discuss. Did the President only "declassify" the key judgments section, or did he also "declassify" the portion of the text that Libby misrepresented to Miller? Did Bush or Cheney instruct Libby to describe that section, falsely, as a "key judgment"?

So yeah, from what we know something awful happened and the president and his vice were involved.

I predict that with the heightened criticism and dropping poll numbers,at this rate we will have begun our Iran campaign within the month. U-S-A! U-S-A!

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