Stealing from the Nixon playbook
Like I wrote earlier, I welcome any look into secrets that deal with our CIA prisons overseas, but you would think that Republicans would feel a little shame in channeling Nixon's response to the Pentagon Papers. Remember, Nixon told Haldeman in June of 1971 (PDF link) that the way to handle this was to get a senator and some columnists to denounce the leak
NIXON: Tell you what I want done: Get the story out on Gelb right way to the [unclear - "columnists' chiefs"?]...Just say--I mean--get Huston to get all the facts together--get Buchanan to write the story--get Lasky to write it [unclear], or anybody else you can get to write it--write a little story...Sound familiar? I thought it might.
Another way to do it rather than having to do that is to have a senator arrange a speech on the Senate floor; [unclear] privilege, and--uh, and charge the whole thing[unclear]. That might be better...
HALDEMAN: Senator [unclear]
NIXON: Anybody's alright to do it, except Goldwater [unclear]
HALDEMAN: Goldwater would do it; Dole probably would [unclear]
NIXON: Dole shouldn't be used but anybody else...The way to do it is through a speech probably rather than an ar--uh--a column.
An extra tidbit to toss in here is that Haldeman had earlier said that the worst part about this was the way it hurt the credibility of the presidency, according to one of his fellow staffers.
Rumsfeld was making this point this morning. To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing: you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say, and you can’t rely on their judgment. And the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong.