Bush Vows to Fire Anyone Who Has Committed Crime in Plame Leak Case

President Bush this morning vowed to fire anyone on his staff found to have committed a crime in the Valerie Plame case (or presumably any other case).

Bush Vows to Fire Anyone Convicted of Leak (AP)

President Bush said Monday that if anyone on his staff committed a crime in the CIA-leak case, that person will “no longer work in my administration.” At the same time, Bush yet again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter. “We have a serious ongoing investigation here and it’s being played out in the press,” Bush said at an East Room news conference.

[…]

Some Democrats have called for Rove, whose title is deputy chief of staff, to be fired. They have suggested that he violated a 1982 federal law that prohibits the deliberate exposure of the name of a CIA agent.

“It’s best people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. I don’t know all the facts. I want to know all the facts,” Bush said. “I would like this to end as quickly as possible. If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration.”

One would certainly hope that anyone convicted of a crime would be removed from high office. One presumes that, if the president concludes a crime–or even a serious ethical lapse–has been committed, firing would also take place.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. dougrc says:

    If I recollect, that’s exactly the same thing he said when the issue first came up. He will fire anyone in his administration guilty of breaking the law pertaining to revealing V. Plame. One thing that you can count on W for, he sticks to his guns and he doesn’t waffle. I don’t think Rove broke the law from the facts that have been leaked, but in the event that he did, Rove will be gone. It is funny that the statement made the news; like his position had changed or something. The liberal Washington press corps just can’t get over having a politician saying the same thing on the same subject, time after time.

  2. Anderson says:

    One presumes that, if the president concludes a crime–or even a serious ethical lapse–has been committed, firing would also take place.

    Well, on the strength of this story, it seems that one would presume wrong:

    Bush said in June 2004 that he would fire anyone in his administration shown to have leaked information that exposed the identity of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. On Monday, however, he added the qualifier that it would have be shown that a crime was committed.

    “Unethical” is a word without a definition in this administration, so they’re having to make do with “illegal.”

  3. TrueLiberal says:

    To bad the Democrats didn’t feel as strongly about those convicted of crimes having to step down when Mr. Clinton was proven to have committed perjury to a Grand Jury. Or their failure in calling for the head of Sandy Berger for stealing from the NA and purposely and knowingly obstructing the inquiry into 9/11. I suppose Democrats are not expected to have any ethics so they shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions?

  4. anjin-san says:

    Dougrc,

    Please produce documentation that thats is “exactly what Bush said” back in 2003.

    I am not holding my breath, since people who are actually grounded in reality know Bush said he would fire “anyone involved” in the leak.

    But hey, whats the big deal? Outing a CIA officer during wartime? Really, why don’t we talk about something important, like Clinton swiping an ashtray?

  5. anjin-san says:

    James,

    What would you consider to be a serious ethical lapse in this case?

  6. Fersboo says:

    Now its ‘outing a CIA officer during wartime‘! How drool!

  7. DC Loser says:

    War? What war?

  8. Anderson says:

    The thing about Clinton’s perjury (assuming it was that, I’ve blessedly forgotten the details) that caused most voters to forgive it, was that they felt the questions were improper in the 1st place. One could easily imagine lying to protect one’s privacy in such a situation. So far, the Plame matter hasn’t produced anything similarly sympathetic.

    As for Sandy Berger, I’ve never understood what the hell he was thinking or what was the significance of whatever he took, but he should certainly be punished in accord with the seriousness of the offense.

    But, as the failure of House Dems to support going after DeLay has demonstrated, ethical troubles are rife in both parties. Yet I haven’t heard of Clinton’s people breaking the law to pursue partisan advantage at the expense of national security. Remind me, please?

  9. LJD says:

    Perjuring oneself is perfectly fine if the question is deemed inappropriate…. what a nice, tidy little explanation. So, who gets to decide what is “inappropriate”?

  10. McGehee says:

    Dammit, I saw an exact quote this morning but now I can’t find it again. But what Bush said first was that if anyone in his administration had “broken the law” he would “take care of him.”

    As for ethical lapses, how about the media playing up the notion that KJarl Rove did something wrong, even as they tried to tell the courts not to jail Cooper and Miller on the grounds that Valerie Plame had been outed inadvertantly by the CIA long ago.

  11. bruce says:

    Anyone in any white house that acts like a louse
    should be made to leave. Anyone who gets caught committing a crime should be prosecuted. Defending the actions of either party shows attachment to ideology rather than thoughtful attention to issues. Rove attacked John McCain in a most dishonest way a long time ago. Has he improved since then? Before yoou answer with either condemnation or approval of that last statement/ question, ask yourself, “How long did I have to consider that? And what information did I use to arrive at my approval/ disapproval?” That is aone way to measure your objectivity. Without objectivity, you can only posture and bluster and use force to get your point across ala fox news.

  12. legion says:

    OK, here it is from the horse’s ass mouth:

    MR. McCLELLAN: — that suggests White House involvement. There are anonymous reports all the time in the media. The President has set high standards, the highest of standards for people in his administration. He’s made it very clear to people in his administration that he expects them to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.

    From 29 Sep 03, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030929-7.html

    Then, on 30 Sep 03, Bush himself says:

    “I don’t know of anyone in my administration who has leaked,” Mr. Bush told reporters in Chicago. But, he added, “If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.”

    The president added, “There’s too much leaking in Washington. That’s just the way it is. We’ve had leaks from the executive branch and leaks from the legislative branch. I want to know who the leakers are.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/01/national/main575986.shtml

    But now, he’s re-framing it to:

    “I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts and if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration,” Bush said at a news conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    http://today.reuters.com/News/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2005-07-18T153659Z_01_N18256573_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-BUSH-LEAK-DC.XML

    Make your own minds up…

  13. anjin-san says:

    Fersboo,

    Your contempt for people who actually work to support national security, as opposed to simply posting about it, is noted.

  14. Anderson says:

    Perjuring oneself is perfectly fine if the question is deemed inappropriate…. what a nice, tidy little explanation. So, who gets to decide what is “inappropriate”?

    If you’d trouble to read what I wrote, LJD, you would understand that I was describing a popular attitude, not a legal rule, and that the answer to your question is therefore “the American people.”

  15. Lurking Observer says:

    So, the American people are supposed to decide the law?

    Is this before or after incidents occur?

    If the American people as a whole decide that, for example, being a member of the Communist Party should mean that you should lose your job, does that sit alright w/you, Anderson?

    What if the American people decide that homosexuality is sufficient to deny you the right to marry? Or hold a job as, say, a schoolteacher?

    Is it really sufficient to argue that simply because something is popular, therefore it’s the right thing? Much less the legal thing?

  16. Fersboo says:

    Anjin-san,

    I really don’t give a damn about your opinion and truly doubt your concern about national security. My battle dress uniform has not fit for a number of years, but I still love this country and the fact that there are still many who serve voluntarily to give you the right to spout off.

    You and your ilk can continue to attempt to paint some wrong doing by the President’s administration or staff, but in the end it will just be another “fake, but accurate” story. I hope that J. Miller enjoys her prison time, that J. Wilson enjoys his fifteen minutes of infamy and that you continue to live in that “reality-based community” inwhich you currently reside.

  17. McGehee says:

    Legion, there is a quote out there matching the one I paraphrased — not only did I see it, I heard the soundbite just today on the radio.

    Bush isn’t re-framing — you’re selectively remembering.

  18. legion says:

    LO –

    So, the American people are supposed to decide the law?

    That’s such a patently asinine statement, I almost want to ignore it. But I can’t.

    Yes, you twit, the American people _do_ decide the law. That whole “of the people, by the people, and for the people” thing from junior-high civics class? Remember that?

    If a lot of people feel something should be illegal, they tell their representative in Congress to make it a law. If that law is (as many you describe in your post would be) unconstitutional, enough people can vote to change the Constitution. But that takes a whole helluva lot of people feeling very strongly about something to make that happen.

    I’ll give you credit for getting one thing right, tho – there is no particular connection between ‘legal’ and ‘right’.

  19. legion says:

    McG –
    Umm, try again. Looking back at my original comment, I’m not ‘selectively remembering’ anything – I’m directly quoting.

    Bush may very well have said what you think he said (inconcievable!) – he could have said ‘broke the law’ last summer, and I haven’t seen the quote. His 30 Sep statement could be interpreted that way. But McClellan’s 29 Sep statement flatly cannot – he said ‘involved in’. And he said those were the President’s words. And whether it happened last summer or last week, going from ‘involved in’ to ‘broke the law’ _is_ re-framing.

  20. Anderson says:

    So, the American people are supposed to decide the law?

    Does kneejerk conservatism really destroy one’s reading skills? I’m starting to wonder.

    L.O., I was obviously & expressly talking about popular attitudes, not the law. Perjury is perjury, legally speaking. Speeding is just as illegal as murder. But people can base their moral & ethical judgments on more than just “oh, he broke the law.”

    I happen to think the majority had it right on Clinton’s perjury, but I don’t think that because a majority thought so; I think so for some of the same reasons that they did.

    Starr asking Clinton whether he put his penis in Lewinsky’s mouth, in a case that was supposedly about Whitewater, was an abuse of prosecutorial discretion. It’s like if Patrick Fitzgerald found out Karl Rove was gay and asked him under oath whether he watched gay porn videos. I’d be pissed as hell if F. did that, however much schadenfreude I might also feel.

    The power to drag someone before a grand jury and require sworn testimony has very few constraints, and that makes it all the more important that it be exercised with sound discretion.

  21. i just did some research and found out who he is. i sent him another message telling him that i was taking back my ‘thank you.’ he does not deserve my thanks. hes a foreigner and i hate non americans.

  22. anjin-san says:

    Sure Fersboo, the President and his adminsitration would never mislead us, just look at how they save us from all the WMD in Iraq that were poise to strike at our country. Or wait were the WMD a “fake” story??

    I guess just blindly following the president (who I whatever “ILK” I belong to, voted for), is easier then thinking for oneself, which can cut into ones TV time.

  23. Fersboo says:

    Sure Fersboo, the President and his adminsitration would never mislead us….

    Now its mislead? I thought it was about ‘outing a CIA officer during wartime’.

    Anjin, all you have to do is scroll up and you can see what you wrote earlier.

  24. anjin-san says:

    Actually Fersboo, I was referring to your post which expressed unhappiness that my “ILK” is trying to paint wrongdoing (such as misleading) the public. If you wish, I can use smaller words so as not to confuse you in this manner…

  25. Lt bell says:

    BUSH – the first unAmerican President of the United `States – Wait! Not unamerican but actually anti-american-

    Rove belongs in prison not in the white house and for that matter so does someone that is responsible for the deaths of untold thousands in Iraq/
    Impeach bush and the entire bush crime family

    by the way; most of my fellow soldiers agree with me

  26. Ted says:

    Legion, instead of relying on the incomplete CBS quote, you should look at the whole thing:

    Let me just say something about leaks in Washington. There are too many leaks of classified information in Washington. There’s leaks at the executive branch; there’s leaks in the legislative branch. There’s just too many leaks. And if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.


    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/09/20030930-9.html

    With the whole quote, it’s clear that he hasn’t reframed anything.

  27. anjin-san says:

    Ted,

    LOL, yea, we all know the White House website is a reliable source. These guys scrub their own site.

  28. LJD says:

    I read and understood your post, Anderson. Perhaps you fail to read it while blinded by your socialist master plan for the U.S.

    First, I do not believe that “most” people felt Clinton’s questioning was inappropriate. I feel “most” Americans feel their president should not lie under oath. Most Americans understand that boinking your secretary, on the job, ususally results in job loss.

    The difference in our philosophies, is that regardless of what the hordes living in metropolitan areas of our country think, the Constitution protects my basic rights. They are absolutely NOT negotiable. It seems the left thinks they can do whatever they want with a simple majority. God help us.

  29. Anderson says:

    I read and understood your post, Anderson. Perhaps you fail to read it while blinded by your socialist master plan for the U.S.

    LOL! … Damn, how did that leak? I’m sorry you found me out, LJD, because now I’ll have to kill you!

    Back to the facts:

    First, I do not believe that “most” people felt Clinton’s questioning was inappropriate. I feel “most” Americans feel their president should not lie under oath. Most Americans understand that boinking your secretary, on the job, ususally results in job loss.

    LJD’s beliefs & feelings aside, the polls were stunningly in Clinton’s favor as impeachment mounted … I remember numbers in the 60%’s saying that the “impeach Clinton” stuff was going too far. My memory is bolstered by my surprise at the numbers; down in Mississippi, they felt more like 90% to draw & quarter ol’ Bill.

  30. LJD says:

    Ah, polls- that completely impartial science, totally uninfluenced by any political motivation. (note sarcasm)

    I do not equate polls showing support for Clinton to equate lack of concern for lying under oath, or even a feeling that questions were inappropriate.

    For some reason, people liked the guy. Maybe a lot can be learned from him, in the Democratic party. Reference his setting aside differences to speak intelligently to the President. The alternative being liberal frothing-at-the-mouth.

  31. Harry 3 Lime says:

    Ah, polls- that completely impartial science, totally uninfluenced by any political motivation. (note sarcasm)

    Wake up, for heaven’s sake.
    Polls injure your predispositions; therefore they can’t be right. It’s infantile Republican dogma long become a cliche.

    What presidential poll since 1948, that’s almost sixty years, pal, has been wrong?