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Washington Post Praises Bush Leak, Mangles Facts

By Judd Legum  

"Washington Post Praises Bush Leak, Mangles Facts"

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This morning, the Washington Post published an editorial — entitled “A Good Leak” — vigorously defending President Bush’s decision to authorize a leak of classified information as part of a political effort to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Apparently, it isn’t a very strong case because, in order to make their point, the editors had to mangle the facts –

CLAIM: Wilson said Cheney sent him to Africa “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.” [Washington Post, 4/9/06]

FACT:

Wilson never said that Cheney sent him, only that the vice president’s office had questions about an intelligence report that referred to the sale of uranium yellowcake to Iraq from Niger. Wilson, in his New York Times article, said CIA officials were informed of Cheney’s questions. [Bloomberg, 7/14/05]

CLAIM: There is no evidence of a White House effort to punish Wilson. “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…After more than 2 1/2 years of investigation, Mr. Fitzgerald has reported no evidence to support Mr. Wilson’s charge.” [Washington Post, 4/9/06]

FACT:

Moreover, given that there is evidence that other White House officials with whom defendant spoke prior to July14, 2003 discussed Wilson’s wife’s employment with the press both prior to, and after, July 14, 2003 – which evidence has been shared with defendant – it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to “punish” Wilson. [Fitzgerald filing, pg. 29-30]

CLAIM: There was nothing unusual about Bush’s conduct. “Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter…There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual about that.” [Washington Post, 4/9/06]

FACT:

Defendant testified that this July 8th meeting was the only time he recalled in his government experience when he disclosed a document to a reporter that was effectively declassified by virtue of the President’s authorization that it be declassified.” [Fitzgerald filing, pg. 23]

CLAIM: Wilson’s op-ed has been discredited; his report supported White House claims. “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.” [Washington Post, 4/9/06]

FACT:

Two-year old assertions by former ambassador Joseph Wilson regarding Iraq and uranium, which lie at the heart of the controversy over who at the White House identified a covert U.S. operative, have held up in the face of attacks by supporters of presidential adviser Karl Rove“¦[T]he Senate panel conclusions didn’t discredit Wilson. The committee concluded that the Niger intelligence information wasn’t solid enough to be included in the State of the Union speech. It added that Wilson’s report didn’t change the minds of analysts on either side of the issue”¦ [Bloomberg, 7/14/05]

‹ White House Press Corps Fails to Ask McClellan About Bush’s Authorization of Leak

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