ROBERTS: Well, no, it hasn't been as bad lately as it was in the last 16 years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And it seems like they're trying to avoid at least in the design of this, criminalizing of policy.
ROBERTS: And just the whole atmosphere of getting that way again. On the other hand, the rule of law is terribly important. And we have to have it -- you know, we cannot operate in this country without the rule of law.
DONALDSON: So which hand do you come down on?
ROBERTS: I'd probably come down on the rule of law.
WOODWARD: OK. And that's where Panetta landed by going to the Congress and saying, look, this was not disclosed. The element in this that's very important is he stopped it. He said we're not going further. I don't think it was particularly sinister. I also think, you're exactly right, Sam, that candidate Obama has met President Obama and he says I don't want wide disclosure of our secrets because we need them.
WILL: and here's why. When someone went to Panetta in the CIA and told him about this and Panetta went to the Congressional Committee, what then happened? It leaked.
WOODWARD: Actually, they wrote letters publicly and the letters circulated.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Part of the reason they wrote those letters was in defense of the speaker, Nancy Pelosi who had said --
DONALDSON: Do you know what the program we're talking about? I don't.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not what the problem is, but they had said they had been misled and the speaker has said the CIA has lied to us on many occasions. I think she said they lie all the time. So this is a measure of vindication, I suppose, for the speaker, even though she doesn't want to claim it.
Well, we've all been discussing these things all week. The country's been pretty absorbed by Michael Jackson, no question that it is -- I see Sam laughing over there, but it's also creating a real debate over whether we've gone too far. And at the memorial service on Tuesday, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee getting up before the crowd at the memorial service and saying she was going to introduce a resolution, House Resolution 600, to honor Michael Jackson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: That claims Michael Jackson as an American legend and musical icon, a world humanitarian, someone who will be honored forever.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: He was a child molester, he was a pedophile, to be giving this much coverage to him day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: What does it say, George Will?
WILL: I don't know. The mainstream media is preoccupied with this, it's probably doing on margin less damage than it does when it's dealing with public policy.
WOODWARD: Thanks a lot.
WILL: Synthetic grief is a growth industry in the world today. We saw this with the Princess Di thing. People who didn't know her, hadn't thought about her for 10 years, suddenly dissolved in tears. I don't understand it. STEPHANOPOULOS: That's the part I wonder about. George called it synthetic grief, Donna. But for a lot of people out there, it did seem fairly real, yet this is a person he never met.