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Libby says Bush authorized leaks (current: Libby sentence commuted)

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Libby says Bush authorized leaks (current: Libby sentence commuted)

Old 04-06-06, 02:29 PM
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Libby says Bush authorized leaks (current: Libby sentence commuted)

This is related to the Plame case, but more encompassing so I thought it deserved it's own thread:

http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/0406nj1.htm
Libby Says Bush Authorized Leaks
By Murray Waas, National Journal
National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, April 6, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff has testified that President Bush authorized him to disclose the contents of a highly classified intelligence assessment to the media to defend the Bush administration's decision to go to war with Iraq, according to papers filed in federal court on Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he had received "approval from the President through the Vice President" to divulge portions of a National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to the court papers. Libby was said to have testified that such presidential authorization to disclose classified information was "unique in his recollection," the court papers further said.

Libby also testified that an administration lawyer told him that Bush, by authorizing the disclosure of classified information, had in effect declassified the information. Legal experts disagree on whether the president has the authority to declassify information on his own.

The White House had no immediate reaction to the court filing.

Although not reflected in the court papers, two senior government officials said in interviews with National Journal in recent days that Libby has also asserted that Cheney authorized him to leak classified information to a number of journalists during the run-up to war with Iraq. In some instances, the information leaked was directly discussed with the Vice President, while in other instances Libby believed he had broad authority to release information that would make the case to go to war.

In yet another instance, Libby had claimed that President Bush authorized Libby to speak to and provide classified information to Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward for "Plan of Attack," a book written by Woodward about the run-up to the Iraqi war.

Bush and Cheney authorized the release of the information regarding the NIE in the summer of 2003, according to court documents, as part of a damage-control effort undertaken only days after former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV alleged in an op-ed in The New York Times that claims by Bush that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger were most likely a hoax.

According to the court papers, "At some point after the publication of the July 6 Op Ed by Mr. Wilson, Vice President Cheney, [Libby's] immediate supervisor, expressed concerns to [Libby] regarding whether Mr. Wilson's trip was legitimate or whether it was in effect a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife."

Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA officer at the time, and Cheney, Libby, and other Bush administration officials believed that Wilson's allegations could be discredited if it could be shown that Plame had suggested that her husband be sent on the CIA-sponsored mission to Niger.

Two days after Wilson's op-ed, Libby met with then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller and not only disclosed portions of the NIE, but also Plame's CIA employment and potential role in her husband's trip.

Regarding that meeting, Libby "testified that he was specifically authorized in advance... to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller" because Vice President Cheney believed it to be "very important" to do so, the court papers filed Wednesday said. The New York Sun reported the court filing on its Web site early Thursday.

Libby "further testified that he at first advised the Vice President that he could not have this conversation with reporter Miller because of the classified nature of the NIE," the court papers said. Libby "testified that the Vice President had advised [Libby] that the President had authorized [Libby] to disclose relevant portions of the NIE."

Additionally, Libby "testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then counsel to the Vice President, whom [Libby] considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document."

Addington succeeded Libby as Cheney's chief of staff after Libby was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 28, 2005 on five counts of making false statements, perjury, and obstruction of justice in attempting to conceal his role in outing Plame as an undercover CIA operative.

Four days after the meeting with Miller, on July 12, 2003, Libby spoke again to Miller, and also for the first time with Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, during which Libby spoke to both journalists about Plame's CIA employment and her possible role in sending her husband to Niger.

Regarding those conversations, Libby understood that the Vice President specifically selected him to "speak to the press in place of Cathie Martin (then the communications person for the Vice President) regarding the NIE and Wilson," the court papers said. Libby also testified, Fitzgerald asserted in the court papers, that "at the time of his conversations with Miller and Cooper, he understood that only three people -- the President, the Vice President and [Libby] -- knew that the key judgments of the NIE had been declassified.

"[Libby] testified in the grand jury that he understood that even in the days following his conversation with Ms. Miller, other key officials-including Cabinet level officials-were not made aware of the earlier declassification even as those officials were pressed to carry out a declassification of the NIE, the report about Wilson's trip and another classified document dated January 24, 2003." It is unclear from the court papers what the January 24, 2003 document might be.

During those very same conversations with the press that day Libby "discussed Ms. Wilson's CIA employment with both Matthew Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third time)," the court papers further said.

Although the special prosecutor's grand jury investigation has not uncovered any evidence that the Vice President encouraged Libby to release information about Plame's covert CIA status, the court papers said that Cheney had "expressed concerns to [Libby] regarding whether Mr. Wilson's trip was legitimate or whether it was in effect a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife."

Cheney told investigators that he had learned of Plame's employment by the CIA and her potential role in her husband being sent to Niger by then-CIA director George Tenet, according to people familiar with Cheney's interviews with the special prosecutor.

Tenet has told investigators that he had no specific recollection of discussing Plame or her role in her husband's trip with Cheney, according to people with familiar with his statement to investigators.

Two senior government officials said that Tenet did recall, however, that he made inquiries regarding the veracity of the Niger intelligence information as a result of inquires from both Cheney and Libby. As a result of those inquiries, Tenet then had the CIA conduct a new review of its Niger intelligence, and concluded that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein had in fact attempted to purchase uranium from Niger or other African nations. Tenet and other CIA officials then informed Cheney, other administration officials, and the congressional intelligence committees of the new findings, the sources said.

Six days after Libby's conversation with Cooper and Miller regarding Plame, on July 18, 2003, the Bush administration formally declassified portions of the NIE on Iraqi weapons programs in an effort to further blunt the damage of Wilson's allegations that the Bush administration misused the faulty Niger intelligence information to make the case to go to war. It is unclear whether the information that Bush and Cheney were said to authorize Libby to disclose was the same information that was formally declassified.

One former senior government official said that both the president and Cheney, in directing Libby to disclose classified information to defend the administration's case to go to war with Iraq and in formally declassifying portions of the NIE later, were misusing the classification process for political reasons.

The official said that while the administration declassified portions of the NIE that would appear exculpatory to the White House, it insisted that a one-page summary of the NIE which would have suggested that the President mischaracterized other intelligence information to go to war remain classified.

As National Journal recently disclosed, the one-page summary of the NIE told Bush that although "most agencies judge" that an Iraqi procurement of aluminum tubes was "related to a uranium enrichment effort", the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research and the Energy Department's branch "believe that the tubes more likely are intended for conventional weapons."

Despite receiving that assessment, the president stated without qualification in his January 28, 2003, State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

The former senior official said in an interview that he believed that the attempt to conceal the contents of the one-page summary were intertwined with the efforts to declassify portions of the NIE and to leak information to the media regarding Plame: "It was part and parcel of the same effort, but people don't see it in that context yet."

Although the court papers filed Wednesday revealed that Libby had testified that Bush and Cheney had authorized him to disclose details of the NIE, two other senior government officials said in interviews that Libby had asserted that Cheney had more broadly authorized him to leak classified information to a number of journalists during the run-up to war with Iraq as part of an administration effort to make the case to go to war.

In another instance, Libby had claimed that Bush authorized Libby to speak to and provide classified information to Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward for "Plan of Attack."

Other former senior government officials said that Bush directed people to assist Woodward in the book's preparation: "There were people on the Seventh Floor [of the CIA] who were told by Tenet to cooperate because the President wanted it done. There were calls to people to by [White House communication director] Dan Bartlett that the President wanted it done, if you were not co-operating. And sometimes the President himself told people that they should co-operate," said one former government official.

It is unclear whether Libby will argue during his upcoming trial that these other authorizations by both the President and Vice President show that he did not engage in misconduct by disclosing Plame's CIA status to reporters, or that he considered these other authorizations giving him broad authority to make other disclosures.

Fitzgerald has apparently avoided questioning Libby, other government officials, and journalists about other potential leaks of classified information to the media, according to attorneys who have represented witnesses to the special prosecutor's probe. Outside legal experts said this might be due to the fact that other authorized leaks might aid Libby's defense, and because Fitzgerald did not want to question reporters about other contacts with Libby because of First Amendment concerns.

In a Feb. 17, 2006 letter to John D. Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., wrote that he believed that disclosures in Woodward's book damaged national security. "According to [Woodward's] account, he was provided information related to sources and methods, extremely sensitive covert actions, and foreign intelligence liaison services."

Woodward's book contains, for example, a detailed account of a January 25, 2003 briefing that Libby provided to senior White House staff to make the case that Saddam Hussein had aggressive programs underway to develop chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.

Two former government officials said in interviews that the account provided sensitive intelligence information that had not been cleared for release. The book referred to intercepts by the National Security Agency of Iraqi officials that purportedly showed that Iraq was engaging in weapons of mass destruction program.

Much of the information presented by Libby at the senior White House staff meeting was later discarded by then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and then-CIA Director George Tenet as unreliable, and would not have either otherwise been made public.

One former senior official said: "They [the leakers] might have tipped people to our eavesdropping capacities, and other serious sources and methods issues. But to what end? The information was never presented to the public because it was bunk in the first place."

In the letter to Negroponte, Sen. Rockefeller complained: "I [previously] wrote both former Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) George Tenet and Acting DCI John McLaughlin seeking to determine what steps were being taken to address the appalling disclosures in [Woodward's book]. The only response that I received was to indicate that the leaks had been authorized by the Administration."
Old 04-06-06, 03:00 PM
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bhk
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Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA officer at the time,
Wrongo.
This has nothing to do with "leaking" her name. Even after 2 1/2 years, the prosecutor can't name one law that was broken relating to naming her nor can he name how the US was harmed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060406/...NlYwMlJVRPUCUl

"There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Plame's CIA identity."

Last edited by bhk; 04-06-06 at 03:07 PM.
Old 04-06-06, 03:08 PM
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Valerie Plame was linked witha pseudo-company which had to be dismantled after the link. That didn't harm the US? They certainly acted like it did.
Old 04-06-06, 03:09 PM
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Valerie Plame was linked witha pseudo-company which had to be dismantled after the link. That didn't harm the US? They certainly acted like it did.
Fitz was asked point blank if he thought naming Plame had harmed security of the US and he said he couldn't think of a way. Remember after all these investigations, there are still no charges as to the original event. Just that Libby was charged for obstruction or lying to a grand jury. Turns out that Libby may not have been lying because Woodward supports him.
Old 04-06-06, 03:13 PM
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not to mention if the Pres declassified the information, can anyone show where a law was broken by disclosing the information?
Old 04-06-06, 03:21 PM
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The question here shouldn't be what law was broken but why Libby is talking about this now. If his claim is true, then I think it does at least tells us something about Bush.
Old 04-06-06, 03:24 PM
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"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois

"I want to know the truth," the president continued. "Leaks of classified information are bad things."

He added that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

Old 04-06-06, 03:25 PM
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Libby's talking because he's the one that was slated for prosecution, remember?

The question isn't why is Libby talking, the question is when was this testimony given?
Old 04-06-06, 03:25 PM
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Let's see, if a person authorized to declassify something, it isn't a leak.
Old 04-06-06, 03:26 PM
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Regardsless of the legality of the issue, this is not going to help the President's approval ratings, that's for sure.
Old 04-06-06, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Wrongo.
This has nothing to do with "leaking" her name. Even after 2 1/2 years, the prosecutor can't name one law that was broken relating to naming her nor can he name how the US was harmed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060406/...NlYwMlJVRPUCUl

"There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Plame's CIA identity."

[Robert Novak]That's bullshit![/robert Novak]
Old 04-06-06, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy
"If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush told reporters at an impromptu news conference during a fund-raising stop in Chicago, Illinois

"I want to know the truth," the president continued. "Leaks of classified information are bad things."

He added that he did not know of "anybody in my administration who leaked classified information."

And if the President "DE"classified the information - noone leaked classified information.

That's their strategy on this one.
Old 04-06-06, 03:28 PM
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The way the media hates him, even finding Iraq's WMD in Syria won't help Bush. Esp. since new documents showing more ties of Al Quida and Saddam than previously thought have been released.
Old 04-06-06, 03:30 PM
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The WH and the people charged with handling the press for the WH are the reason the President's approval rating sucks. Why didn't they release these documents earlier? Um, maybe it would have been smart to release them before his rating is too low to recover? Stupidity.
Old 04-06-06, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
And if the President "DE"classified the information - noone leaked classified information.

That's their strategy on this one.
Well, then the next question has to be why Bush declassified that infomation and told Libby to go out and blab about it.
Old 04-06-06, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
Let's see, if a person authorized to declassify something, it isn't a leak.

In the full context of what the President was saying and implying any answer to this is smack dab in the "depends on what the meaning of is is" territory.
Old 04-06-06, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
Well, then the next question has to be why Bush declassified that infomation and told Libby to go out and blab about it.
uh, because he's the President and has full authority to do so?

And because by Joe Wilson's op-ed he opened himself and his wife up to scrutiny. I still say it had to be COMPLETE INCOMPETENCE by our intelligence agencies to send him without a NONDISCLOSURE form IF his wife truly was undercover.
Old 04-06-06, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
And if the President "DE"classified the information - noone leaked classified information.

That's their strategy on this one.
You're 100% correct and parsing things like that is Clinton-esque and will never fly.

It is funny seeing people on the right defend it, though.
Old 04-06-06, 03:36 PM
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Oh, I'm not defending this new spin. I agree it's parsing words and stinks.

I never believed Plame was undercover from the start of this whole mess though either.
Old 04-06-06, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
And if the President "DE"classified the information - noone leaked classified information.
Well there's also the matter of whether he's allowed to just state whatever he wants to do leak is automatically "declassified". As the story states:
Legal experts disagree on whether the president has the authority to declassify information on his own.
Old 04-06-06, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
uh, because he's the President and has full authority to do so?
The last question I brought up has nothing to do about authority, it was about intent.
Old 04-06-06, 03:39 PM
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So what you're saying is that some legal experts agree that he can declassify information?
Old 04-06-06, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
uh, because he's the President and has full authority to do so?

.

What?

Bush, or any President for the matter, does things because they have full authority to do so? You mean they don't have a reason or a motive, they just do it for shits and giggles?

The leaking extended way beyond Wilson and Plame.
Old 04-06-06, 03:40 PM
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I should also point out to our friends on the left that Libby was already found to have lied. Just because he's singing a new song about Bush/Cheney doesn't mean that it is true either... no matter how much you might want it to be, or how much sense it seems to make.
Old 04-06-06, 03:41 PM
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So? So it might have been retalitory. Are you telling me Bush is the first politician to do something like this retalitory?

yeah, I won't go into blah blah blah all the examples

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