It’s certainly not often that a conservative can say this, but today’s editorial in the Washington Post entitled “A Good Leak” represents a bold and almost unprecedented demonstration of support for President George W. Bush by one of America’s leading liberal newspapers. Frankly, I had to check and double-check the web address while pinching myself to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.
Yet, there it was: “PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do.”
President Bush was right?!? The public actually benefitted from something he did? When’s the last time a member of the antique media said that? Maybe more amazing, WaPo’s editorial staff, after making it clear that “There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual” about such a declassification, concluded: “As Mr. Fitzgerald pointed out at the time of Mr. Libby's indictment last fall, none of this is particularly relevant to the question of whether the grounds for war in Iraq were sound or bogus. It's unfortunate that those who seek to prove the latter would now claim that Mr. Bush did something wrong by releasing for public review some of the intelligence he used in making his most momentous decision.”
I imagine that most of you are likely double-checking that web address right about now. However, in between the first paragraph and this wonderful finale, WaPo also went after former ambassador Joe Wilson (emphasis mine):
“Mr. Wilson originally claimed in a 2003 New York Times op-ed and in conversations with numerous reporters that he had debunked a report that Iraq was seeking to purchase uranium from Niger and that Mr. Bush's subsequent inclusion of that allegation in his State of the Union address showed that he had deliberately ‘twisted’ intelligence ‘to exaggerate the Iraq threat.’ The material that Mr. Bush ordered declassified established, as have several subsequent investigations, that Mr. Wilson was the one guilty of twisting the truth. In fact, his report supported the conclusion that Iraq had sought uranium.”
Checking that web address again to make sure this really is a WaPo editorial? Well, hang on to your seats, because it gets better (emphasis mine again):
“Mr. Wilson subsequently claimed that the White House set out to punish him for his supposed whistle-blowing by deliberately blowing the cover of his wife, Valerie Plame, who he said was an undercover CIA operative. This prompted the investigation by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson's charge. In last week's court filings, he stated that Mr. Bush did not authorize the leak of Ms. Plame's identity. Mr. Libby's motive in allegedly disclosing her name to reporters, Mr. Fitzgerald said, was to disprove yet another false assertion, that Mr. Wilson had been dispatched to Niger by Mr. Cheney. In fact Mr. Wilson was recommended for the trip by his wife.”
Wow. Of course, likely most readers of NewsBusters know that none of these revelations are all that novel. Instead, what is extraordinary is reading them in an antique media editorial.
Bravo, WaPo. Bravo.