Democrat Wants Bush to 'Fully Explain' His Intelligence Info 'Leak'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Concerns about immigration -- and Iran's nuclear activities -- are dominating this week's headlines in Washington, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid was still focused on President Bush's "selective leak of intelligence information" to the American people.

Reid's staff on Wednesday released a copy of a letter that Sen. Reid just sent to President Bush.

"Dear Mr. President," the letter begins: "I was deeply disturbed by your confirmation earlier this week that you and Vice President Cheney authorized the selective leaking of sensitive intelligence information in order to discredit those who raised legitimate questions about your Administration's case for the war in Iraq. Just as troubling, when presented with opportunities to publicly explain your actions, you and other Administration officials have either issued more misleading statements or hidden behind legalistic defenses.

"I urge you to immediately heed bipartisan calls to publicly and fully explain to the American people your role in this selective leak of sensitive American intelligence for political purposes."

Reid indicated that he was particularly upset by the president's refusal to answer questions because of "ongoing legal proceedings" -- a federal grand jury investigation.

A good "interim step," Reid suggested, "would be for if you and the Vice President to immediately release the transcripts of your interviews with investigators. Perhaps this would give the American people some insight into your motivations until you and the Vice President are prepared to speak openly to the American people."

On Monday, President Bush defended his decision to declassify documents that would give his side of the Iraq war story. Critics had accused his administration of lying about Saddam Hussein's attempt to obtain uranium to make nuclear weapons, and Bush said he wanted to set the record straight.

"I wanted people to see the truth and thought it made sense for people to see the truth," Bush said Monday during an appearance at Johns Hopkins University in Washington.

"You're not supposed to talk about classified information, and so I declassified the document. I thought it was important for people to get a better sense for...what I was saying in my speeches. And I felt I could do so without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence matters, and so I did."

See Earlier Story:
Dems, GOP Clash Over Meaning of Libby Testimony (7 April 2006)

Subscribe to the free daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.