Well, we knew it was coming. Despite promises on the campaign trail in 1999 to not only do what is legal, but what is right (an obvious crack on Clinton's penchant for legal parsing of words), BushCo. is resorting to legal hairsplitting on the Plame leak case.
The Washington Post today is reporting that an unidentified White House aide said that "Bush sees a distinction between leaks and what he is alleged to have done." Essentially, they're arguing that since the President has the authority to declassify information whenever and however he wants, and since he supposedly authorized Libby to disseminate this information, it's technically not a leak at all. If that's so, then why have we just endured two years—and millions of dollars—of an investigation into who leaked Plame's identity? Bush could have cleared this all up the day Novak's column went to press by announcing he'd declassified the information. But he didn't.
You gotta love the irony of this statement, "A senior administration official, speaking on background because White House policy prohibits comment on an active investigation." SO this is leaked information about the leak case, and the President HATES leaks. Brilliant!
Of course this will provide some legal cover for the President, but will this fly with the 30-odd percent of "regular folks" who still cling to the idea that Bush is a "straight shooter" who tells it like it is? That's always been his strength and it's fast eroding. Perhaps the President would like to clarify what the definition of "truth" is?