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Ranking Democrat on House Intelligence Committee calls Bush 'leaker-in-chief'

RAW STORY
Published: Thursday April 6, 2006

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Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, released the following statement upon learning of former Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff "Scooter" Libby's grand jury testimony alleging President Bush authorized the declassification and disclosure of portions of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq.

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"If the disclosure is true, it's breathtaking. The President is revealed as the Leaker-in-Chief.

"Leaking classified information to the press when you want to get your side out or silence your critics is not appropriate.

"The reason we classify things is to protect our sources - those who risk their lives to give us secrets. Who knows how many sources were burned by giving Libby this 'license to leak'?

"If I had leaked the information, I'd be in jail. Why should the President be above the law?

"The President has the legal authority to declassify information, but there are normal channels for doing so. Telling an aide to leak classified information to the New York Times is not a normal channel. A normal declassification procedure would involve going back to the originating agency, such as the CIA, and then putting out a public, declassified version of the document.

"I am stunned that the President won't tell the full the Intelligence Committee about the NSA program because he's allegedly concerned about leaks, when it turns out that he is the Leaker-in-Chief."