Leaky Bill

From Holden:

Everyone’s favorite mentally challenged Senate Majority Leader screwed the pooch by leaking about the leak.

A leak suspected to have come from the office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) complicated, confused and nearly derailed a joint effort by Senate and House Republican leaders to seek an investigation of the unauthorized release of classified information.


On Tuesday at 11:36 a.m., the Drudge Report reported that Frist and Hastert would “announce a bicameral investigation into the leak of classified information to The Washington Post regarding the ‘black sites’ where high-value al Qaeda terrorists are being held,” catching Senate and House Republicans off-guard.

The short news report immediately created a clamor among the Capitol Hill press corps for more information about the probe. The media demand prompted the Speaker’s office to release copies of the letter to the press between 12:30 and 1 p.m., before Hastert had a chance to read and approve the demand, said reporters who received copies of the letter. Hastert didn’t sign the letter until about 1:10 p.m.

The leak appeared to pressure Hastert to sign the letter before he or Frist intended to. But then something happened that lawmakers and political observers surmised made Frist hesitant to sign it.

CNN reported earlier in the day that Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) had said a Republican senator may have leaked information about the so-called black sites to the Post. Lott told reporters yesterday that he had been talking about another Post article. He said he was not talking about the article about the detention and interrogation facilities.


The lack of confirmation about Frist’s support raised the specter that Hastert would be left alone in calling for the investigation. That would have likely been a source of major irritation for House Republicans since the idea for the investigation originated with Frist office, said a senior Senate GOP aide.

And the cause for the mistiming would likely have been a leak from Frist’s office.

Republican aides said the leak either came from Hastert’s or Frist’s office because they were the only two offices handling the matter.

Scott Palmer, Hastert’s chief of staff, emphatically told The Hill that the Speaker’s office was not the source of the early leak. When pressed, Frist’s office, however, did not offer a similar denial.