- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 4, 2003

Stop the presses. There has been a leak to the news media in our nation’s capital, and Democrats are demanding a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of it all.

Even Hillary Rodham, who you would think had her fill of special counsels, wants a full-fledged inquisition with lawyers, judges, investigators, subpoenas, etc. All this because the identity of a CIA employee — whose status as an agent, operative or analyst remains a mystery — was leaked to the press. Democrats place special importance on a CIA request for the Justice Department to open an inquiry on the matter, something former CIA Director James Woolsey says is a “relatively routine thing,” that happens, on average, about once a week.

With William Jefferson Clinton out of town, the Washington chatter class has been in scandal rehab. They now apparently believe they’re entitled to a full dose of dueling press conferences, grand juries, televised testimonies, high-priced attorneys, and leaks from investigators. The scandal addicts have jumped off the wagon and rushed to the microphones as if Pablo Escobar had set up shop in the lobby of the Betty Ford Clinic.

Newspapers are splashing stories about cover-ups, conflicts of interests and criminal investigations all over their front pages and editorials. The Washington Post and ABC News immediately called their pollsters to confirm their suspicions that White House heads need to roll. After interviewing 505 randomly selected Americans, the Post/ABC poll concluded 69 percent believe a special counsel should be named. This, from the same public that overwhelmingly supported legislation to eliminate so-called independent counsels in the aftermath of the Clinton scandals.

The hypocrisy in Congress is overwhelming. This is the same body, that in 1987 divulged the names of three CIA Clandestine Services officers and two foreign government officials who were working with our government undercover. One of the CIA officers had his wife and children overseas at the time; one of the foreign officials was subsequently assassinated and the other official’s son was gunned down in front of his house while waiting for a school bus.

Now, liberal hypocrites in Congress demand in high dudgeon that the person(s) who told Bob Novak that Ambassador Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA be prosecuted. Where was this righteous outrage when members of this same institution, less than 30 days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, leaked classified material to the press potentially endangering U.S. troops? And just a few months later, where were the calls for a criminal inquiry when members of Congress investigating the September 11 attacks leaked sensitive intelligence from the super-secret National Security Agency just to discredit the administration?

Congressional hypocrisy over the alleged leak is matched by the indignity of the media that appears to have declared all-out war in an effort to unseat this president. Stunned by the success of our military in Iraq, those who opposed using force to unseat Saddam still haven’t given up trying to use the men and women of our armed forces against their commander in chief.

Even as Mr. Bush patiently waited seven months for the United Nations to debate the issue of force, Teddy Kennedy put his fellow Democrats on notice they were to unite behind Hans Blix and the French and denounced the president for “rushing down the path to war.” Since he made those remarks in January, Mr. Kennedy has descended into the depths.

“This,” Teddy charged, referring to the war in Iraq, “was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.” Mr. Kennedy insists that because the president didn’t plan properly, “our troops are paying with their lives.”

The game plan is to ignore the very real progress being made in Iraq, hype the problems and try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory after the most successful military campaign in American history. Editors at Time magazine apparently received their instructions.

Since July, Time has run four cover stories attacking the president’s efforts in Iraq. July 14: “Peace is hell.” July 21: “Untruth and consequences.” Sept. 1: “Are we stretched too thin?” But the most egregious is their Oct. 6 issue featuring a photo of President Bush after landing aboard the carrier USS Lincoln with a caption that reads, “Mission NOT accomplished.” The title of the story inside the magazine: “So, what went wrong?”

Answer: not nearly as much as the editors of Time and other news organizations would lead us to believe. Last week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld explained in the Wall Street Journal that there are a great many more successes in Iraq than the media report. Most hospitals and universities are up and running; an army and security forces are being retrained; businesses are opening; and a central bank has been established.

None of that matters because no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Forget that Saddam had seven months to hide, destroy or move them. We know he had them: He used them. Yes, it will take time to find them and, Lord willing, when we do find them, they won’t be in the hands of terrorist groups like Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad. Once Democratic rule is established in Iraq, the new government will have more incentive to ensure any weapons of mass destruction or their remnants are destroyed so they don’t fall into the wrong hands.

Unfortunately, Democrats seem to see this president as their enemy. It would be nice if they could put aside their lust for power and focus their ire on America’s true enemy — the terrorists.

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist and the founder and honorary chairman of Freedom Alliance.

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