July 19, 2005

Defining ethical standards downward

President Bush qualified his pledge to dismiss any White House official found to have leaked the name of a CIA operative, saying Monday that "if someone committed a crime" he would be fired.

In September 2003, the White House had said anyone who leaked classified information in the case would be dismissed. Bush reiterated that promise last June, saying he would fire anyone found to have disclosed the CIA officer's name.

Democrats said Bush in his new comments had "lowered the ethics bar" for his administration.

Bush would not say whether he was displeased that Rove, the deputy chief of staff, told a reporter that the wife of administration critic Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction issues. A 2003 phone call with Rove was the first time that Matthew Cooper of Time magazine had heard that Wilson's wife worked at the agency, according to a first-person account by Cooper in the magazine.

Rove's involvement in the leak case has worried Republicans, already anxious about Bush's decline in opinion polls. Only a fourth of Americans believe the White House is fully cooperating with the investigation, according to an ABC News poll released Monday. That number has dropped from half in September 2003 when the probe began.

Democrats contended that Bush's comments indicated he was lowering the administration's ethical standards.

The White House denies the president has changed the standard for staying in his administration.

"It appears that an administration that came to office promising 'honesty and integrity' and to avoid 'legalisms' is now defining ethical standards downward," said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

"In this White House, apparently no aide will be fired or forced to resign unless and until the jail cell door is locked behind him."

In July 2003, syndicated columnist Robert Novak, citing unnamed administration officials, wrote that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.

A 1982 law prohibits the deliberate exposure of the identity of an undercover CIA official. Wilson has accused the White House of trying to orchestrate a dirty-tricks campaign to discredit him after he challenged the administration's assertion that Saddam Hussein was seeking material from Niger to make nuclear weapons and said the White House had manipulated pre-war intelligence to justify an Iraq invasion.

While Rove has not disputed that he told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked for the agency, he has insisted through his lawyer that he did not mention her by name.

Said Bush on Monday, "I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts, and if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

The phrasing was unusual for the president, who campaigned for office in 2000 on a pledge "to restore honor and dignity" to a White House he implied had been sullied by scandals of the Clinton administration.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan would not say whether Bush meant an indictment or a conviction when he referred to a crime, or whether he considered leaking itself to be a crime. Nor would McClellan acknowledge that the president created a standard different from previous statements out of the White House.

"I think that the president was stating what is obvious when it comes to people who work in the administration: that if someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration," McClellan said.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said Bush's standard for firing Rove was not consistent with a 2-year-old executive order governing the protection of national secrets. Under the order, Bush is required to impose administrative sanctions such as dismissal if anyone acted negligently in confirming information about Plame's identity.

Howard Dean, head of the Democratic Party, said Bush "lowered the ethics bar" and should go back to his earlier pledge.

Slippery bastards.

> MORE <


At 7/19/2005 6:09 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Rove probably helped Bush write his new statement. Likely Rove has found a way to cover his butt with this new twist. I am sure someone will be fired but I will betcha a steak dinner Dope that it won't be Rove. It will be some poor underling sacrificed in this one.

And the fact Bush needs to wait for someone to break the law to take action is pretty weak and shows his total lack of leadership. He changes his stance depending on what direction the wind blows. Rove has done a lot of stuff that smells pretty rotten. You know the saying -- If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck!

I think it's time to send Rove quacking.

At 7/19/2005 9:46 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

If he is convicted, they'll probably change the standard to "convicted of a forcible felony, on a Tuesday, wearing green = out of the administration."

At 7/21/2005 7:21 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Well we all know that Rove and Bush are really Siamese Twins joined at the brain. Rove is Bush's brain, and if he goes, all thoughts and processes leave the White house. Bush would just look out and stare into space without Rove behind him. Many have forgotten that device implanted in his ear during the debates in 2000. That was the connection between Bush and Rove - so Bush would know what to say.

How would Bush function with Rove gone? No one knows. They are scared to find out. So they continue the grand coverup.

Can't we get those two Watergate reporters Woodward and Bernstein out of retirement and onto this one? That may be our only hope to get the thing unraveled where all can see the truth here!!


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home