When a Leak Is a Declassification
Apparently, Dick Cheney thinks he can declassify government secrets. I’m not going to dispute that, because I don’t know the case law or the executive order he’s referring to. I have a different issue with his statement.
He made this remarks in the apparent context of Scooter Libby’s recent assertion that he was authorized by his boss, Dick Cheney, to disclose Valerie Plame’s identity. Two possibilities exist there:
Either 1) Mr. Cheney was abusing the authority his office for political gain by disclosing the identity of a secret agent married to an Administration critic; or 2) they are using that possible authority as a way to cover-up for a leak.
Seriously, why on earth would you think declassifying an agent’s identity would be a good thing? And even if you didn’t care, why would you secretly “leak” the declassified information and avoid telling anyone you were responsible? Perhaps because you thought it would be a crime to do so?
I mean, the government declassifies information all the time. Not as much as we’d like, but still quite often. And whenever it does, it rarely “leaks” it, and rarely is so secretive about the declassification.
Shame on Cheney and Libby. Double-shame on Cheney for trying to float that idea during the same week where he secretly delayed disclosure that he shot a 78-year-old in the face and chest and then refused to talk about it much less apologize for days afterwards.
Valerie Plame was not a secret agent. While the CIA had classified her as such, she did not qualify as such under the law.
nor is their any proof out there that Libby leaked her name as part of a political process.