Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Bush's (Not So) Shockin' New Legal Standard

Today, we learned from the WSJ (liberal rag) that the U.S. State Department memo warned that Valerie Plame's identity and anything regarding her role in getting her husband to do the Niger inspection was sensitive intelligence.

Since I've been busy with the bar (which begins next Tuesday, btw,) I have been surprised that more people aren't commenting on something the President said at his press conference. While the hypocritical shifting standards is amusing, nobody can really say he's surprised. 'Member the book "Bush's Brain?" As much as the President is dangerous with Karl Rove in the picture, sometime I wonder if a Bush sans Rove could actually be worse.

However, this is what I thought was really shocking. When the President was asked if he planned on talking to Rove about it, he said not while the criminal investigation was ongoing. Now I understand not wanted to get in the way of a criminal investigation, but doesn't this seem to be reckless delegation? Fitzgerald is looking to build a criminal case, he's not really charged with investigating if Karl Rove, et. al should continue to have security clearance.

Is the White House policy that an employee cannot, under any circumstances, have their security clearances revoked while employed until they have been convicted for revealing classified information? For anyone with any knowledge about the intersect of criminal law and intelligence, you know that sometimes prosecutions are not brought because the risk of a public trial revealing or drawing attention to classified information (and the means in which it was obtain) harms or impairs national security more than criminal offense itself. In those cases, do those employees continue to keep their jobs?

Having a standard where only a conviction for leaking intelligence leads to employment termination is not only a politically bad policy, it's just plain simple, dumb, unworkable policy. Bush's press conference shows that the team that was going to "restore integrity in the White House" has drawn a bold, new ethical employment standard: Incarcerated felons cannot telecommuting while working for the White House. Bravo, a new renaissance of morality and ethics has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, indeed!

Anyone remember last year what conservatives were saying about former Clinton NSA Director Sandy Berger when he was accused of taking classified files out of the office in his socks??

Anyone, NOT think those conservatives are having yet another unprincipled flourish of hypocrisy with Rove?

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