Thursday, April 06, 2006

Making It Up As We Go Along

It must be terribly difficult to find the sunny side of things in the White House this year. So little has gone right in the first three months that the success of Associate Justice Alito being confirmed to the Supreme Court might be measured by light years.

To wit, Americans may find it difficult to swallow that a document or state secret stays secret only until it becomes politically convenient to release it. Worse still, the decision to declassify is soley based on a need to repel a story or criticism and otherwise might just as well stay secret.

President Bush stands accused of such a ploy via Irving Lewis Libby's testimony before the grand jury. A brief excerpt:
The presidential authorisation prompted Mr Libby to disclose the information - taken from the government's secret National Intelligence Estimate - to Ms Miller at a meeting in July 2003, at the St Regis hotel in Washington DC.

It was during Mr Libby's several meetings with Ms Miller that he was accused of disclosing the identity of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA operative married to former US ambassador Joseph Wilson.

It is always helpful to bear in mind the history of what transpired during 2003 when a war had been won, an insurgency had been birthed, and a pesky diplomat was suggesting that stories about Niger were debunked months prior to a State of the Union address.

Juan Cole provides such a timeline, with pictures no less.

The executive branch does have latitude when administering the laws of the land - it was supposed to as per Article II of the Constitution. The designers of that austere document might never have known that the Chief Executive would resort to pettiness when making decisions for the good of the entire country. Actually, maybe they did conceive of such leaders.

There is always Section 4. of Article II.

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