Editor’s note: This post has been bumped up from earlier.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the secret CIA program that Vice President Cheney allegedly ordered hidden from Congressional oversight involved plans to kill or capture al-Qaeda operatives. Last night on Fox News, top Bush adviser Karl Rove refused to comment when asked by host Bill O’Reilly if he knew anything about the program. “I want to limit my comments to what I’ve read in the newspapers and observations,” he said. Rove then appeared to make the argument that executive branch should not inform Congress of what it is doing:
ROVE: Look, it’s interesting. The CIA briefed Congress to this, I guess, in June. And the Congress immediately leaks it. That, itself is, a violation, I think, of several statutes and indicative of why it is so dangerous to give Congress information.
To clarify, Congress did not “leak” details of the secret program. The Wall Street Journal cited “former intelligence officials familiar with the matter” in its report. But Rove’s comment seems to confirm the Bush administration’s motives for routinely attempting to hide information from Congress.
O’REILLY: Now, CIA, the far left running wild with some kind of undefined program that the CIA didn’t tell Congress about. Do you know anything about this undefined program? You were in the White House at the time.
ROVE: Well, I want to limit my comments to what I’ve read in the newspapers and observations.
O’REILLY: Why can’t you tell us what you know?
ROVE: Well, because, look, it’s interesting. The CIA briefed Congress to this, I guess, in June. And the Congress immediately leaks it. That, itself is, a violation, I think, of several statutes and indicative of why it is so dangerous to give Congress information.
Remember, this is about according to The Wall Street Journal a program that was designed and for which people were trained, but a program which was never put into effect. And so Congress is saying we want you to — we want you to brief us. We, the left wing in Congress, want you to brief us on ideas you have. Not necessarily on programs that you executed.
O’REILLY: Right, so we can tell The New York Times what they are. That’s what they want.