That was then:
A day of dueling news conferences ended with a Senate debate that turned unusually personal. It began when Democratic leaders proposed an amendment, aimed at Rove, to deny access to classified information to any federal employee who discloses a covert CIA agent's identity.This is now:
Republican leaders retaliated with a measure designed to strip the security clearances of the chamber's top two Democrats. Even as he urged support for his amendment, Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) acknowledged the blatantly political tone of the debate. "This is a sad and a disappointing afternoon here in the United States Senate," he said.
Frist's amendment failed, 64 to 33, when 20 Republicans joined all present Democrats in voting against it. The Senate then rejected the Democrats' measure aimed at Rove, by a 53-to-44 vote along party lines. Both items were offered as amendments to a homeland security appropriations bill.
Dear Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Roberts:That kind of desperation would be downright sad if it wasn't so damn funny.
We request that you immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media alleging that the United States government may be detaining and interrogating terrorists at undisclosed locations abroad. As you know, 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.
The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen. The unauthorized release of classified information is serious and threatens our nation's security. It also puts the lives of many Americans and the security of our nation at risk.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
William H. Frist, M.D.