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Going Nuclear Over Leaks

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 11, 2006; 8:10 AM

So President Bush says these stories about contingency plans to bomb Iran are just "wild speculation."

In other words, they are not authorized leaks.

In other words, it's okay when the president okays the leaking, as when he wanted Scooter Libby to put out selective secret info on Iraq to counter Joe Wilson, but not when others in his administration leak about Iran.

Now I, for one, don't think it's a coincidence that Seymour Hersh and The Washington Post reported on the same day that the U.S. might nuke Iran to stop its bomb-building program. I see two possibilities:

a) The White House wants this out because it's very effective saber-rattling aimed at getting Tehran to the bargaining table.

b) Military or administration sources who believe Bush might actually bomb Iran want to torpedo the program through leaks.

Interesting juxtaposition, by the way, that Bush acknowledged today that he okayed Libby's 2003 leak on Iraq because he wanted the "truth" out--especially when some of the administration's own experts were disputing that "truth" about whether Saddam was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Africa.

Oh, and by the way, if the president wanted the truth out, and he was declassifying the thing anyway, why not make a speech about it, rather than having it secretly slipped to Judith Miller (who didn't write a story anyway)?

"President Bush told a Washington audience yesterday that he had declassified intelligence information in 2003 to help the American public understand the basis for statements the administration had made about Iraq before the start of the war," says the Los Angeles Times .

As for the Iran issue, the New York Times reports:

"President Bush said Monday that he remained committed to using diplomacy to block Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, his first public comments addressing recent speculation that the United States was weighing military action to do so."

Hey, is it fair to describe reports in two fine publications as mere "speculation"?


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