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Bush Right to Tighten Loose Lips -- Remember 'Leaky Leahy' ^ | Oct.10, 2001 | Carl Limbacher

Posted on 06/12/2002 4:26:16 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl

Some in Congress are squealing like stuck pigs after President Bush, prompted by leaks of classified information to the press about the U.S.'s war on terrorism, decided to limit top secret briefings to just eight House and Senate leaders.

"The defense bill is not moving until we are included," Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, threatened in a private lunch with colleagues, reports Wednesday's Washington Times.

Bush ordered the new secrecy rules after information from a classified congressional briefing last week was leaked to reporters. On Friday the Washington Post revealed that part of the briefing included the prediction that a new round of terrorist attacks was a "100 percent" certainty after the U.S. began air strikes on Afghanistan.

While some in Congress said the administration was being too sensitive, Bush has good reason to set new ground rules for the U.S.'s war on terrorism, a fight that will take years and may try the patience of political opponents in Congress.

Witness the example of Vermont Senator Pat Leahy, now the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who lost patience with the Reagan administration's war on terrorism in the 1980s when he was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Back then "Leaky Leahy," as he's known to some in his home state, allegedly threatened to sabotage classified strategies he didn't agree with`1 and, according to some reports, may have actually cost a U.S. intelligence asset his life.

"Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, inadvertantly disclosed a top secret communications intercept during a [1985] television interview," reported the San Diego Union-Tribune in a 1987 editorial criticizing Congress' penchant for partisan leaks.

"The intercept, apparently of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's telephone conversations, made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizens," the paper said, adding, "The reports cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative involved in the operation."

In July 1987, the Washington Times reported that Leahy leaked secret information about a 1986 covert operation planned by the Reagan administration to topple Libyan strongman Moammar Gaddhafi.

"I thought [the operation] was probably the most ridiculous thing I had seen, and also the most irresponsible," the leading Intelligence Committee Democrat allegedly said of the secret plan.

Unidentified U.S. intelligence officials told the Times that Leahy, along with Republican panel chairman Sen. Dave Durenberger, communicated a written threat to expose the operation directly to then-CIA Director William Casey.

Weeks later, news of the secret plan turned up in the Washington Post, causing it to be aborted.

Leahy vehemently denied he talked to the press about any of the administration's covert operations, saying, "I never have, and I'm not going to start now."

But just a year later, as the Senate was preparing to hold hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal, the Vermont senator had to resign his Intelligence Committee post after he was caught leaking secret information to a reporter.

The ranking Intelligence Committee Democrat decided to let an NBC reporter comb through the committee's confidential draft report on the scandal. The network aired a report based on the inside information on Jan. 11, 1987.

After a six-month internal investigation, Leahy "voluntarily" stepped down from his committee post, releasing a statement calling his resignation "a suitable way to express ... anger and regret" over his lapse.

Leahy's anger, he said, was at himself, "for carelessly allowing the press person to examine the unclassified draft and to be alone with it."

The Vermont Democrat's Iran-Contra leak was considered to be one of the most serious breaches of secrecy in the Intelligence Committee's 10-year history. After Leahy's resignation, the committee decided to restrict access to committee documents to a security-enhanced meeting room.

The terrorist threat now facing America is far greater than anything that confronted Congress back then.

Given "Leaky Leahy's" sorry performance at the time -- and the penchant of some of his colleagues for the same kind of partisan grandstanding -- President Bush would do well to keep America's cards close to his vest

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: democrats; partisan; press; trust; war
See also:
Groundhog's Day, by James Taranto,, Best of the Web-

First it was the "thousands" of civilian deaths in Afghanistan. Then it was the "concentration camp" at Guantanamo Bay. Then the Israeli "massacre" at Jenin. Ever since the war started, America-haters, mostly on the far left, have been searching desperately for a peg on which to hang their opposition to our defense of civilization.

Every time, the pattern is the same: The America-haters begin by leveling some hysterical charge or another, supported by fraudulent or invented information. Fair-minded but muddle-headed liberals weigh the accusation seriously, because after all there are two sides to every story. In due course it becomes clear that the America-haters' claims are nonsense, so they turn their attention to the next fabrication, though refutation doesn't keep the earlier ones from becoming part of the canon of anti-American myths.

The latest example is the "injustice" America is purportedly committing against enemy combatant Abdullah al Muhajir, né Jose Padilla, who the government says was working on a mass-murder plot on behalf of al Qaeda involving a "dirty bomb" that would release radiation into the air. Now London's far-left Independent claims that "British and European security officials are highly sceptical" that al Muhajir "was preparing to unleash a radioactive attack......"

The Dems. lie. The press reports without investigating. Lie falls flat with public. The Dems. don't apologize. The press doesn't apologize. The Dems. create another slanderous scandal. The press reports without investigating...and so it goes.

Loose lips, sink ships. You guys lie. Please, Mr. President, for the good of the nation, do everything you can to keep classified secrets away from these proven leakers and liars until they can pass a basic US History test and show by their actions and words that they can tell the difference between our free Constitutional Republic and Communist N. Korea.

1 posted on 06/12/2002 4:26:16 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
We these kind of mouthy SOBs in Congress and the liberals,this country will take a licking before its over if they are not stopped.My wife and I were going to vacation in the New England States but occurences revealed in the last couple of months have changed our minds.Besides thieves and hooligans in Congress we have those who seek out the press for favor and personal recognition showing how much they know and have access to.This country probably does deserve what we are going to get for electing people like these.
2 posted on 06/12/2002 4:52:02 PM PDT by gunnedah
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Maybe Bush should keep the information away from his own people in Department of Justice, FBI and CIA first. As Robert Novak, George Will and others have noted, it was Bush's own people who were leaking like a sieve to the press last month, revealing material while blaming each other for the mistakes made before 9-11 and covering their own asses.
3 posted on 06/12/2002 4:53:15 PM PDT by RDangerfield
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4 posted on 06/12/2002 4:56:57 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: RDangerfield
Everyone's cranky these days...but the press/Dems. are playing an old game, pitting members of the administration against one another based on rumor and inside info from career moles within the administration.

Clinton hired "yes" men/women. Hillary had her secretary cut out all news critical of their administration before reading the papers daily and Bill told Chelsea that folks with differing opinions were enemies.

President Bush welcomes people with different ideas, and is known for allowing his staff freedom and trust. When they overstretch bounds, disagree....they talk it out in private. The rest is mischief-making.

Last week the Dems. floated the lie that Shelby was going to switch parties in Nov. if the Dems. won the Senate back....a big lie, said Shelby. A DNC member laughed and admitted they lied to frustrate Republicans and turn them against each other. They lie. The press lies. If the administration all shared one brain, like the borg in the VLWC...we'd have reason to worry.

5 posted on 06/12/2002 5:08:46 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
With senaturds like this, Who needs enemies?
6 posted on 06/12/2002 5:52:04 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
The best way to stop the leaks is to have a couple of US Marshals to suddenly appear while the leaker is mouthing off in front of the press and their cameras, slap the cuffs on him/her and drag them off kicking and screamming.
7 posted on 06/12/2002 5:53:15 PM PDT by SCHROLL
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LOL! What to we do with the ACLU? (song title for dfu (^:)
8 posted on 06/12/2002 6:24:23 PM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: firebrand
More on Leaky Leahy.
9 posted on 06/21/2002 6:55:26 PM PDT by StarFan
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