In a leak, the White House says it didn't leak

The administration says Bush didn't leak sensitive information for political gain. He was just trying to make you feel better.

By Farhad Manjoo
April 7, 2006 5:43PM (UTC)
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Officially, the White House won't say anything about yesterday's revelation that President Bush deliberately declassified intelligence information in order to mount a public relations campaign in support of the war. "We're not commenting on an ongoing legal proceeding," White House press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters.

But that's just officially. Unofficially, people at the White House say Bush did nothing wrong. It's true, Bush hates leaks, he hates leakers, and he especially hates those who would leak for political gain. But the Washington Post reports that a senior official told the paper that "Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done. The official said Bush authorized the release of the classified information to assure the public of his rationale for war as it was coming under increasing scrutiny." In other words, when the president puts out classified information, it's not a leak. It's assurance. He was only trying to make you feel better! (Do you feel better yet?)


Just one more thing: The official who spoke to the Post did so "on background" because "White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation." So is that a leak -- or did Bush authorize breaking White House policy for political gain here, too?

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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