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Monday, July 18, 2005

First it's fire anyone who was involved in leak, now it's fire anyone who committed a crime

Oh, this is just too much. Bush just flip-flopped and says now that he'll fire anyone in his administration who committed a crime in the Valerie Plame leak when earlier he said that he would fire anyone in his administration who was involved in the leaking of a CIA operative. Maybe he moved the goal posts because we now know that Rove fulfilled the earlier requirement because he was Robert Novak and Matthew Cooper's source.

Although this additional requirement just might saves Rove's head from being placed on the chopping block, it will seriously damage the President's credibility. I don't the people are going to fall for this change in language and you can be sure that the Democrats will pounce all over Bush.

From the AP:
President Bush said Monday that if anyone in his administration committed a crime in connection with the public leak of the identity of a CIA operative, that person will "no longer work in my administration." At the same time, Bush yet again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter.

"We have a serious ongoing investigation here and it's being played out in the press," Bush said at an East Room news conference.

Bush, appearing at a news conference with visiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, spoke a day after Time magazine's Matthew Cooper said that a 2003 phone call with Rove was the first he heard about the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson apparently working for the CIA.

Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame. On Monday, however, he added the qualifier that it would have be shown that a crime was committed.

Asked at a June 10, 2004 news conference if he stood by his pledge to fire anyone found to have leaked Plame's name, Bush answered, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. attorney to find the facts."


Some Democrats have called for Rove, whose title is deputy chief of staff, to be fired. They have suggested that he violated a 1982 federal law that prohibits the deliberate exposure of the name of a CIA agent.

"It's best people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don't know all the facts. I want to know all the facts," Bush said Monday. "I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration."

It was the second time that Bush, when asked specifically about Rove's involvement in the matter, passed up an opportunity to come to his adviser's defense.

Bush has appeared with Rove at his side several times over the past week, however. And White House spokesman Scott McClellan has said Rove — as well anyone who works now at the White House — continues to have the president's confidence.

The president did not respond directly to a reporter's question on whether he disapproved of Rove's telling a reporter that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction issues.

The White House had no problem commenting about this on going case a couple of years ago when they said that Rove was not involved in the leak. Now, not only are they tight-lipped and not commenting, the President is changing his requirements for firing the person who leaked the name.
Wonder if Clinton would of been able to get away with something like this in his administration?