Editorial: Leaks are the least of any problems within Congress

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2005

Republican congressional leaders want it known. They are on the offensive against sleazy leakers!

No, not those sleazy leakers. Not the Dick Cheneys and Karl Roves and Scooter Libbys who were skulking around in the White House. Not the ones who outed a CIA officer in order to discredit her husband for legitimate criticism of the Bush administration’s prewar claims about Iraq’s weapons. No, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are on a rampage against the sneaky good-for-nothings who told The Washington Post about secret foreign prisons being run by the CIA.

Unfortunately, their ill-planned stunt has failed to catapult the GOP back onto the high ground. For one thing, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said he thinks the leaks about secret prisons might have come from Republican members of Congress or their staff who learned about the topic at a meeting with Vice President Cheney. Darn. They were trying so hard to keep Cheney and leak out of the same sentence.

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Then there’s the problem that Sen. Frist presents. He says he wants to get to the bottom of the leak, but he’s not interested in investigating whether the CIA, in fact, is running a secret prison system. Is he worried about torture or perpetual incarceration with no recourse to a legal system? Nope.

Meanwhile, the House says it will look into the leak but has no interest in investigating whether the administration twisted intelligence to mislead Congress and the American public into approving the Iraq invasion. The Senate has been dragging its feet on the same issue for more than a year.

GOP leaders want to exploit the new leak to distract the public from the White House leaks. So, naturally, their own credibility sprung another leak.

&045; The Palm Beach Post, Fla.