Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pressure on White House for Explanation of Leaks

As congressional Republicans continue to fear that multiple White House scandals and continuing drops in the President's approval ratings, Sen. Arlen Specter (R - Pennsylvania and chair of the Judiciary Committee) has asked for detailed explanations of any role the President and Vice President have played in a series of leaks of classified intelligence over the past few years. We the people do deserve an explanation.

I would have to assume the White House will not give details. Watch for the phrases,"continuing investigation," "national security," and "the President has the power to declassify" as the spin continues to be flung without any substance to it. This has been the case for years from this White House. My last post is about how the administration wants to hold not only public primary and secondary education districts accountable, but also colleges by having a battery of testing. And yet the White House has taken the opinion, particularly since 9/11/01, that they are above and beyond any accountability as required by the Constitution. Those who take part in a true democracy and challenge them on anything are now talked about as near traitors. Those who question the "stay the course" mentality are showing a "lack of respect" for the troops on the ground during wartime, even when everyone involved has, mostly, the best interests of the troops in mind (obviously in an election year there is politics at work on both sides) . The President does not have to comment on anything related to scandals since "investigations are in progress." The White House dismisses any questions about intelligence failures because of classified material and the need to not live in the past.

I highly doubt Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to the Vice President, took it upon himself one day to leak the name of Valerie Plame and her role as a CIA operative. A chief of staff at times needs to be made the fall-guy when scandals hit...that is part of the job, as evidenced more recently when Andy Card (former chief of staff to the President) suddenly resigned as approval ratings plummet. But chiefs of staff do what they are told to do by their superiors. They make things run based on the wishes and commands of the Vice President and President. I find it hard to believe that Libby would do this on a whim, without some meeting concluding that this is the warning shot that needed to be fired to those who question decisions about Iraq. This is a serious matter, and for once the administration needs to be held accountable. If true, why would something like congressional censure not be an appropriate hand-slap on the President (I won't ever bring up impeachment since that won't happen with this Congress)? It will be interesting to see how the spin comes out of the White House and whether Congress has the capacity to do its constitutional duty by keeping the executive in line with the nation's interests, and provide some sort of oversight/check-and-balance.

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