January 11, 2004

Paul O'Neill Spills the Beans Former Sec of Treasury Paul O'Neill's statements are damning. Writer Ron Suskind has the documents to back them up. Not only did O'Neill give Suskind his time, he gave him 19,000 internal documents.
  • The horrible thing is, this won't register as so much as a blip on Bush's approval rating. Until now, no-one's even bothered to comment on it. And yet, it quite possibly could have got Clinton arrested. Funny ol' world. Well, okay, I exaggerate a bit.
  • A transcript of his interview with Jim Lehrer that no one bothered to watch. The GOP's attack dogs will be out for blood.
  • What a sweet and lovely tale! [=sarcasm] Too bad this wasn't released during the week.
  • I'm intrigued by this. Here in Britain, Cabinet minutes and other high-level government documents are covered by the Officlal Secrets Act. A government minister or civil servant in O'Neill's position would be breaking the law merely by keeping this material in his private possession - and if he passed it on to a journalist, he'd probably end up in prison. I realise the US has no direct equivalent to the Official Secrets Act, but it would appear from this story that the Bush administration doesn't even make its employees or ex-employees sign any sort of confidentiality agreement. This is surely standard practice in large corporations, so why not in government? Can someone explain?
  • If the Bush administration press charges on O'Neill this will generate a lot of press and O'Neill will be on every talk show saying how disengaged Bush was as a President. That's not something they want during an election year.
  • Is this likely to become big news in America? It sounds like its quite important, and potentially damaging for the current government, but then so do lots of things - the Diebold issue, especially, and the Valerie Plame one too - and they just seem to die away quite quickly without doing any particular political damage to the President, or anyone else, seemingly.
  • sullivan: point taken, but I am still confused. Not so long ago, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was accusing the US government of being infected with a culture of secrecy. Now, it seems, Paul O'Neill can publish the entire contents of his filing cabinets, including verbatim transcripts of National Security Council meetings, without anyone raising an eyebrow. What's going on? Perhaps the answer lies in another point made by Moynihan, that too much secrecy is ultimately self-defeating because it causes people to ignore the whole system. Thus (he writes) 'it is now almost routine for American officials of unquestioned loyalty to reveal classified information as part of ongoing policy disputes'. I guess that explains why the American media aren't paying more attention to the O'Neill story: it's 'almost routine'. Even so, I'm astonished by the amount of information that O'Neill is said to have handed over to Suskind. The leaking of single documents may be routine, but the disclosure of 19,000 internal documents at one time, and from such a high-level source, is surely unprecedented. Like dng, I'm puzzled by the apparent lack of attention paid to this story, so far anyway.
  • I just read that Mr O'Neill is shortly to be publishing all of those 19 000 documents on the innerthingy. Okay, you can read it here if you don't mind watching the ad or doing the hack, but the only new info there's the bit I just pulled out of it.
  • Paul O'Neills come, Paul O'Neills go An hour of pomp and show They know Paul O'Neills know Only what Paul O'Neills know But they'll share you their documents. Kismet>