Tuesday, February 20, 2007

White House Hypocrisy on Leaks and Leakers

Scanning the national press today, we saw this pointed appraisal of yet another Bush Administration ethical lapse.

The Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, USA Today notes in an editorial, has exposed the administration's double standard on the matter of leaks to the press.

"The is not the way this White House works," press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters in September 2003. Vice President Dick Cheney said that one unauthorized leak was "a disgrace." President Bush himself has condemned leaks "unacceptable" and "shameful."

USA Today points out, however, that the administration leaks at will when it suits the President's policies.

From the Libby trial, for instance:

No fewer than four top officials—Libby, White House aide Karl Rove, former deputy secretary Richard Armitage and former press secretary Ari Fleischer—were cited by at least one reporter under oath as a source of the information.

In short, the President and his people are simply playing politics, condemning leaks out of one side of their mouths while leaking like sieves out the other.

We might forgive such power politics as "business as usual" in Washington, except that the President was supposed to be above such things. This President, after all, once cited Jesus as his favorite philosopher. As a candidate and thereafter, Bush positioned himself as God's man in the White House.

Bush's hypocritical attitude toward leaks and leakers—not to mention a couple dozen other policies we might name—makes plain the hollowness of his holier-than-thou position. No wonder more and more Americans, even in places as "red" as Tulsa, are losing faith in George Bush.

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