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From Fox News Sunday:

CHRIS WALLACE: Congresswoman Harman, let's change subjects. I want to talk to you about leaks, because the CIA dismissed a senior officer this week, apparently reportedly a veteran named Mary McCarthy, for leaking classified information to reporters including material about secret U.S. prisons overseas for terror suspects.

Congresswoman, after it came out that the president had authorized the disclosure, partial disclosure, of the National Intelligence Estimate about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you had the following to say, and let's put it up on the screen. "The president is revealed as the Leaker in Chief."

Congresswoman, do you really see any comparison between these two actions?

REP. JANE HARMAN (D-CA): You bet I do. I don't know this woman, and I do not condone leaks of classified information. However, while leaks are wrong, I think it is totally wrong for our president, in secret, to selectively declassify certain information and empower people in his White House to leak it to favored reporters so that they can discredit political enemies.

That is wrong. That is unprecedented. I've never, ever heard about that happening in another administration, and it's a double standard.

WALLACE: But, Congresswoman Harman, isn't there a big difference? She was breaking the law. He wasn't.

HARMAN: Well, he wasn't breaking the law because the president claims to have power that no one else has. And he should be reminded that the Constitution starts with Article I, not Article II.

The inherent powers of the presidency are not unlimited. He's been ignoring Congress. He's been refusing to brief the full Intelligence Committees on the NSA program. I think that's a violation of law.

Presumably he's doing that because he's afraid we will leak, and yet he and his administration are the ones who leak selectively. And so I am not condoning what this woman allegedly did in the CIA. Of course, I'm not condoning that. But I think having a double standard is absolutely wrong.
It goes on, and on.

First: it is not unprecedented, and you damned well know it. And even if it were, so what? How is it actually wrong, apart from being "unprecedented"?

Second: it is not a double standard. In one, you are legally declassifying out-of-date information about a past action in order to provide support for U.S. policy to the general public, and in the other you are illegally releasing classified information about a future action in order to undermine U.S. policy at home and abroad.

To say these are the same thing is equivocative nonsense.

Third: to bring in the NSA program in this context is to intentionally distort the issue. In the case of declassifying this information, Bush actually did have that legal authority. Period. Bush can declassify that information. End of story.

What Bush did clearly was not wrong, there clearly is no double standard, and there is no question that this authority belongs solely and entirely to the President.

Harman and the Democrats won't let this go, though, because they think they can really convince the voters that Bush did something wrong. That is, the Democrats are putting into action the aphorism about not going broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

Also, there's no transcript for this, but pundit Juan Williams on the same show said what the CIA officer did in leaking the Iran information was justifiable. He saw no problem with it. The other pundits, and the host, were, of course, shocked by this, as most of the viewers surely were (said Wallace: "send your cards and letters to Juan Williams, C/O Fox News Sunday ...").

There is no justification for what she did. Even if this is a terrible policy that endangers America, in your view, it's a policy that our elected representatives knew about it, and they can work to bring it to light if it should be brought to light. There's no excuse for undermining the Presidency, the Congress, and the Constitution by releasing it.

We know her real motivation, anyway: she is close friends with many anti-Bush former CIA officers, and a significant contributor to the Democrats. Her reason was obviously political, not merely about policy. slashdot.org

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