July 18, 2005

On Oct. 10, 2001 President Bush took a strong stand on leakers or what he considered leakers of information which included members of Congress. Not so much now.

Emailer Patrick says: I was amused to see Orrin Hatch on CNN this weekend chipping in to help out Karl Rove. It reminded me of the scolding old Orrin got from POTUS in October 2001, when Orrin was showing off his security creds to the media much to the consternation of the White House and DoD. Seems that GWB had a much more stern attitude about classified info then than he does now...

Washington Post article: Bush Edict on Briefings Irks Hill

Members from both parties objected strongly to Bush's highly unusual step of ordering that briefings with sensitive information be limited to eight of the 535 members of Congress. The memo cuts off numerous lawmakers cleared to receive classified information; it was signed by Bush on Friday following a report in The Washington Post that intelligence officials told lawmakers there was a "100 percent" likelihood of further terrorist strikes.

Bush, appearing in the Rose Garden with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, gave Congress a stern lecture. "I understand there may be some heartburn on Capitol Hill," he said. "But I suggest if they want to relieve that heartburn, that they take their positions very seriously and that they take any information they've been given by our government very seriously." He continued: "I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk."

The tension between the two branches of government began last month, when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld warned that those who divulged classified information could endanger the lives of American troops. The remarks were an apparent rebuke of Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who said he had permission to reveal the information. At the same time, intelligence committee members were complaining that the administration's briefings were inadequate.

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