04/08/2006 03:20 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Leaking Classified Information

In defending King George's selective leaking of classified information, Bush's Press Secretary Scott Mclellan accused critics of not understanding the distinction between the kind of leaks that do not threaten national security (like Libby's leak of claims of the sale of yellowcake uranium from Niger to Iraq which was, according to McClellan in the "public interest") and disclosures such as the report last year that Bush authorized warrantless wiretapping of Americans which, according to McClellan, damaged national security..

There certainly is a distinction, but as usual, Scotty got it backwards. There is a difference between a President selectively leaking classified information for partisan political purposes to discredit a critic during an election campaign, and the leaking by whistle blowers of information that the government is engaging in unlawful and unconstitutional activities.


P.S. The press has taken for granted that Bush authorizing Libby to leak classified information to a selected handful of reporters is legal. There is no question that a President has the power to declassify information. But a quick google search revealed a series of statutes and regulations which set out specific procedures that must be followed to classify and declassify information. No such procedures were followed by Bush.

Is there anyone in the Huffpo blogosphere with some expertise in the laws regarding classifying and declassifying government documents. If so, please speak up.

Did Bush authorizing Libby to selectively leak to a handful of reporters follow legal procedures? In fact, if such procedures were not followed, did Bush lawfully declassify the information?