Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee


Libby: Bush authorized Iraq intelligence leak

Former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, Lewis "Scooter" Libby has testified that President Bush himself gave the thumbs up to releasing classified intelligence on Iraq. He reportedly did so to rebut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's findings that Saddam Hussein wasn't seeking to purchase enriched uranium from Niger.

The documents don't specify whether or not Bush authorized the release of the classified identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, as part of the intelligence leak. The speculation is sure to continue until it's learned one way or another though.

Here's a key portion from the court papers made public today. NIE stands for National Intelligence Estimate, and Defendant is Libby.

Defendant’s participation in a critical conversation with Judith Miller on July 8 (discussed further below) occurred only after the Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE. Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller – getting approval from the President through the Vice President to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval – were unique in his recollection. Defendant further testified that on July 12, 2003, he was specifically directed by the Vice President to speak to the press in place of Cathie Martin (then the communications person for the Vice President) regarding the NIE and Wilson. Defendant was instructed to provide what was for him an extremely rare “on the record” statement, and to provide “background” and “deep background” statements, and to provide information contained in a document defendant understood to be the cable authored by Mr. Wilson. During the conversations that followed on July 12, defendant discussed Ms. Wilson’s employment with both Matthew Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third time). Even if someone else in some other agency thought that the controversy about Mr. Wilson and/or his wife was a trifle, that person’s state of mind would be irrelevant to the importance and focus defendant placed on the matter and the importance he attached to the surrounding conversations he was directed to engage in by the Vice President.


Post a Comment

<< Home