From: Howard Dean
Subject: I agree with George Bush
Dear Fellow Democrat,
Politics drove someone in the White House to do a treacherous, potentially criminal thing: a senior administration official leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative. They endangered the agent's life and compromised our national security in a time of war.
Here's what former president George H.W. Bush said about that kind of crime: "Even though I'm a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors." That's from a speech on April 26, 1999.
I agree. But as it became clear this week that Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove is a subject of the criminal investigation into the leak, the second Bush administration has gone silent. And its operatives have launched a cover-up and smear campaign against anyone raising questions.
This is bigger than politics -- every American should agree that this administration needs to come clean immediately about this leak, and any White House official's role in it. The only way to pressure this administration is to show that Americans will not tolerate this -- and that every American regardless of party will unite and publicly demand that they come clean:
We will publish comments from Republicans, Democrats and independents across the country -- demonstrating that our party won't play politics with this, but keeping the pressure on this administration to do the right thing. And we will do it until they come clean.
When former President Bush made the remarks above, he wasn't speaking as a Republican. He wasn't even speaking as a former president -- he was speaking as a former CIA director who understands the sacrifice of our covert operatives and the danger of their work.
What happened here is even worse than what former President Bush describes. That's because the leak was not an accident -- it was part of a campaign to try to discredit anyone, including those inside the CIA, who questioned the administration's claims about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Other former CIA officials agree. Three former operatives (who are also registered Republicans) gave this joint statement in testimony on October 24, 2003: "This has set a sickening precedent. The 'senior Administration officials' who did this have warned all U.S. intelligence officers and the Intelligence Community that any one individual may be compromised if providing information or factual analysis the White House does not like."
This is a serious situation -- it goes to the heart of our national security, and what kind of standards we have for those entrusted with secret and potentially dangerous information. Forward this message to everyone you know -- Republican, Democrat, independent -- and ask them to add their name to the list of Americans demanding this administration come clean:
You don't have to be a former intelligence official to understand the implications of this crime.
Here's what former Republican Party chairman Ed Gillespie had to say on 'Hardball' on September 30, 2003: "I think if the allegation is true, to reveal the identity of an undercover CIA operative -- it's abhorrent, and it should be a crime, and it is a crime." Asked by MSNBC's Chris Matthews if it would be worse than Watergate, he said, "Yeah, I suppose in terms of the real world implications of it. It's not just politics."
George W. Bush said when this leak became public that he "welcomed the investigation" and called the leak a "criminal action." He pledged that anyone found to be the source would be "taken care of".
But the New York Times reported that when asked yesterday if he would fire Karl Rove, the question was met with a "stony silence".
Will George W. Bush keep his word and demand that everyone in his administration uphold the trust of their office? This is his chance to rise above politics and do the right thing for our security and for our country.
Our party will rise above politics by asking all Americans, regardless of party, to publicly ask the administration to come clean about this serious situation:
Please get this message out to as many people as possible. Americans of all political persuasions should agree that we need to get the truth -- and take responsibility for publicly demanding it.
Governor Howard Dean, M.D.
Chairman, Democratic National Committee
Comments are closed on this story.