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McClellan: "Important distinction" between intel release and CIA leak

I’m home from work for a minute following an interview. I turn on CNN and get to watch the ScottBot live in a press conference. I’m just gonna free-form live-blog paraphrase this thing:

“Democrats refuse to recognize this distinction.” Here’s the “it’s all partisan politics, the big bad Democrats who control nothing in government are just working hard to let Osama bomb your kids’ school!” theme of the day.

Wiretapping “vital to our nation’s interests”. Don’t worry, we’re only listenin’ for al Qaeda. You want us to listen for al Qaeda, right? We’re only goin’ after al Qaeda… and kiddie porn. That’s all we’re wiretappin’, al Qaeda and kiddie porn… and these drugs. al Qaeda, kiddie porn, and drugs, you want us to listen to that, right? You want what’s best for America, right? al Qaeda, drugs, kiddie porn, no wait, make it all porn, porn is a “mind drug”, oh, and Quakers, long-haired peacenik groups who hate America, and the homersekshuls and that big thick agenda they keep trying to shove down our throats, over and over and over…

You know, you could almost sell me on a so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program” if I knew it was run by intelligent, competent, ethical and moral leaders in the Executive Branch under the strict observation of bi-partisan Congressional review, well-defined laws and procedures, and judicial oversight, even though the Executive may move quickly on its own in an emergency and get the warrants and review up to three days later… oh, wait, we DO have such a thing, it’s called a FISA Court, and if you think it’s antiquated, you can have your rubber stamp Congress review and amend it. Just because you know the Republican House and the Republican Senate and the Republican courts will give you whatever you want doesn’t mean you can just bypass them and go ahead and do it. I mean, hell, that’s like stealing five bucks out of your friend’s wallet. “You know if you just asked, I woulda gave ya five bucks, dude!” Now your buddy can’t trust you and is hurt that you didn’t trust him and ask for help. No wonder they don’t want to get their pictures taken with you on the campaign trail, Georgie; you broke their hearts! (I’m trying to put it in terms a fratboy might understand.)

“Ongoing investigation, go and look back at previous statements, ongoing legal proceding, we want to see a fair trial, yada yada yada.” I think that’s what he said. Scottbot has four basic settings:

1. Can’t comment on ongoing proceding.
2. We’ve already commented on that, I suggest you go check the record.
3. This is crass politics by the Democrats.
4. War on Terror. al Qaeda. Attacks on American Soil. BOO!

“Been a long time policy of not commenting to an ongoing legal proceding, even in other matters.” Uh, like how you didn’t comment about Tom Delay or Duke Cunningham’s ongoing investigations at the time?

“President has the authority to declassify info at any time.” Oh, really? So, are we saying, technically, that when the president says it, whether or not it was classified, it becomes declassified by the simple act of the president declassifying it by saying it? Technically speaking, it is impossible for the president to ever leak something classified, because once he says it, it’s not classified? Is that like, “if the president does it, it’s not breaking the law”, cause I’ve heard that one before. Jeebus H. Kristofferson, mainstream media, you’re not going to let this one float by, are you?

“Crass politics by Democrats who refuse to recognize this distinction. You bet the president is angry about disclosing the terrorist surveillance program to the enemy, and enemy who adapts,… stop attacks from happening on American soil. That’s just crass politics, he is not acknowledging an important distinction. [Leaking Valerie Plame] is different, because it was declassified, it is an important distinction, put in context, what was going on at that time period, the National Intelligence Estimate was declassified.” Leaks we like, good. Leaks we don’t like, bad. Got it.

“If you’ve got a specific instance, bring it up. I’m not going to let you put words in my mouth. You’re trying to get me to make broad statements and I’m not going to do it.” Of course, when they ask him about a specific instance, like the next questioner who asks about Fitzgerald’s filing, he “can’t comment on an ongoing legal proceding.” Notice how it’s not “investigations” any more, it’s “procedings”.

“You’re lumping things. (Lumper!)” Uh, like Saddam and al Qaeda and Osama and terrorists? Or Pelosi and Feingold and Boxer and Reid and Kerry and Clinton (both) and Michael Moore? Or heroin, acid, PCP, cocaine, crack, meth, and marijuana? Lumper!

“Leaking classified information… is a serious matter… it is dangerous they put our nation at risk. This is a different kind of war that we are engaged in with an enemy that is sophisticated….” Unless the president decides it’s declassified. Next Q: “So, when the president decides to declassify information, does it happen immediately, that moment he says it, or when the process of declassification is complete?” Scottbot: “The president has that authority.” Interesting answer to a question with an “or” in it. But, at least someone in the mainstream media DIDN’T let it float on by! Good, but could have been followed up better with the “so, the president can’t ever possibly leak classified information, by definition, right?”

“It was in the public interest to provide the information to show the collective judgement of the intelligence community as we were leading up to Iraq, this was to show that there was no manipulation of the intelligence leading up to the war.” See, that leak was good because without it, it would have been more difficult to go to war with the terrorists, but now that we’re at war with the terrorists, the other leak is bad.

Oooh, love the one on “So, classified info is ‘leaked’ and declassified info is ‘provided’?”

I’ve got to go back to work. I’ll dive into the transcript sometime later.

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