Friday, May 18, 2007

The Washington Post Meets The Reality Based World

For the second day in a row, the Washington Post editorializes against the incident where Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card tried to get a drugged, just out of surgery, John Ashcroft to sign off on a spying program that he thought was illegal. Even in his drugged state, Ashcroft refused, but they went ahead anyways. Fred Hiatt at the Post still isn't all the way into the reality based world though.
IT DOESN'T much matter whether President Bush was the one who phoned Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's hospital room before the Wednesday Night Ambush in 2004. It matters enormously, however, whether the president was willing to have his White House aides try to strong-arm the gravely ill attorney general into overruling the Justice Department's legal views. It matters enormously whether the president, once that mission failed, was willing nonetheless to proceed with a program whose legality had been called into question by the Justice Department. That is why Mr. Bush's response to questions about the program yesterday was so inadequate.

I'm not going to talk about it," Mr. Bush told reporters at a news conference with departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair. "It's a very sensitive program. I will tell you that, one, the program is necessary to protect the American people, and it's still necessary because there's still an enemy that wants to do us harm."

No one is asking Mr. Bush to talk about classified information, and no one is discounting the terrorist threat.

I may be a nobody, but I am asking for Bush to discuss this classified information with the Senate intelligence committee. Are you kidding? The President tries to get something that even Ashcroft thinks is illegal, tries to trick him to say it's legal while he is doped up, and only back off a bit when the top people at Justice threaten to resign en masse. It might be useful to find out what the President was attempting.

It has to be really bad. Although we are at "war" perpetually it appears, classification is no excuse for lack of oversight. Perhaps, one day the Post will go the full monty and see it that way as well.