Republican senator leaked CIA secret prison story?

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) told CNN today that he believes a Republican senator leaked information on the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prison network to the Washington Post, potentially derailing a proposed Congressional investigation into who may have leaked the information.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert are circulating a draft letter calling for a congressional leak investigation into the disclosure of secret U.S. interrogation centers abroad. . . .

“If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks,” stated the draft. — Associated Press

But wait! What if the person who leaked the story was a Republican insider?

“Trent Lott stunned reporters by declaring that this subject was actualy discussed at a Senate Republican luncheon, Republican senators only, last tuesday the day before the story ran in the Washington Post. Lott noted that Vice President Cheney was also in the room for that discussion and Lott said point blank “a lot of it came out of that room last tuesday, pointing to the room where the lunch was held in the capitol.” He added of senators “we can’t keep our mouths shut.” He added about the vice president, “He was up here last week and talked up here in that room right there in a roomful of nothing but senators and every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper.” He said he believes when all is said and done it may wind up as an ethics investigation of a Republican senator, maybe a Republican staffer as well. Senator Frist’s office is not commenting on this development. The Washington Post not commenting either.” — Ed Henry, CNN

Oops! How can we blame the Democrats for this if it was a high-level Republican all along? You can be sure that the proposed leak investigation is going to go absolutely nowhere after this little revelation.

And about that ridiculous claim that the knowledge of the existence of the secret prisons will imperil America’s security. Complete bullshit, and Frist and Hastert know it.

Remember, the CIA is the agency that President Bush wants Congress to give explicit permission to torture suspects held in those prisons, even while he says out of the other side of his forked tongue, “We do not torture.”

The person who leaked the information about the secret prisons should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his courageous service to his country and the principles on which it was founded.

The only thing at risk here is the stability of the Republican Party. And perhaps the stability of George W. Bush’s crumbling Presidency. Our security is not imperiled by the fact that the CIA is holding a hundred people in secret prisons, most of whom have never been charged with any crime, or have any intelligence value, or ever will be.

Our way of life, however, is imperiled by a government which does things in secret that it — and we — should be ashamed of, fights tooth and nail to keep those abuses from becoming public, and when they invariably do, turns on its own, persecuting the whistleblowers and the victims.

I love this country, and I love the principles on which it was founded. Unfortunately it has strayed so far from them, especially since George W. Bush took office, that I can only say I’m ashamed of the government.

Update: David Stephenson brings up a very good point: “What about the danger brought on all of us — especially those in uniform — on the part of others who are outraged by this kind of action [secret prisons] and will use it to foment terrorism?”