Chris Wallace’s interview yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Senior Obama Advisor David Plouffe was delicious. There were tough questions about the recent national security leaks and a lot of dancing around them by Plouffe.
First was an excellent question by Chris Wallace. Since Obama stated flatly that no one from his White House would even think of leaking classified information, knowing the evasiveness of Obama, does that mean that the President avoided the issue by declassifying this sensitive information? So he asked Plouffe: “Simple question. Did the President or any other top official declassify any of the information that appeared in these articles?” Plouffe avoided the question, but Wallace wouldn’t relent. (Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more than one TV network that had serious journalists who actually dug for answers to serious questions?) Finally, after the question was asked a third time, Plouffe realized he wouldn’t get away with avoiding it and answered it, which of course makes you seriously question if he is lying.
Then Wallace made reference to President Bush ordering everyone who worked in his White House that if anyone knew anything about the outing of Valerie Plame that they come forward. “Has President Obama made that same kind of order to all of you?” Plouffe avoided the question twice and at that point it was clear that Obama had not done this.
Then Wallace asked about an Independent Counsel. “Back in 2006, in the case of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Senator Barack Obama sent a letter that said this: ‘A Special Counsel will insure the public’s confidence in the investigation and prosecution and help to restore its faith in our government.’ If an independent prosecutor was necessary in the Abramoff case, which, quite frankly, was not a matter of national security, why not an independent prosecutor in the case of our top national secrets?” Plouffe danced around this question, too. There was fancy footwork here, but it had to be stressful for Plouffe.
And, more bad news for the White House, Senator Joseph Lieberman, who appeared on Fox News Sunday right after Plouffe, did call for an Independent Counsel. Of course, Lieberman is operating from the naive assumption that the President is innocent here and that his top desire would be to reassure the public that this investigation is free of any conflicts of interest. Given the circumstances, Obama’s top priority has to be simple denial and probably giving cover for kicking this matter down the road, past the election. Which is much more effectively done with an in-house investigation.
Just to be clear, David Sanger, who divulged some of this national security information, said that he did talk to top White House officials to get it. So it is really beyond dispute, even for Democrat Joe Lieberman, that a high official in the White House is responsible for the leaks.
But what can you do? Attacking the President here would be racist, we will be told. So we just have to look the other way.
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