Monday, February 13, 2006

The Echo Chamber

The latest Democratic talking point goes something like this: VP Dick Cheney should resign because he (presumably) told Scooter Libby to leak the 2003 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. Howard Dean advanced that argument again yesterday, following the lead of Ted Kennedy, who made similar comments on Friday. I guess the weekend blizzard slowed the fax lines between Capitol Hill and DNC HQ. But we digress.

Unfortunately for the Dems, that dog won't hunt, for reasons we outlined last week. As the #2 official in the executive branch, the V-P has declassification authority, allowing hiim to direct the declassification and release of sensitive material. Additionally, the entire NIE was declassified and released in the summer of 2003, so Libby's lawyers can argue that his conversations with reporters were a part of that process. And finally, Special Prosecutor Peter Fitzgerald took a pass on indicting Libby for illegally releasing classified information, because there were numerous leaks of the NIE, both from the White House and Capitol Hill.

I've haven't read the transcript of Face the Nation (where Dean made his comments), but I'm guessing that host Bob Schieffer conveniently ignored these salient facts.

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