Thursday, April 06, 2006

Libby: Bush, Cheney OK'd Plame Leak

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case, THE NEW YORK SUN reports Thursday.

The filing can be found here.

The paper's site isn't loading. RAW STORY will excerpt more when available. Excerpts:

"The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter."

"Defendant testified that he was specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller on that occasion because it was thought that the NIE was ‘pretty definitive' against what Ambassador Wilson had said and that the vice president thought that it was ‘very important' for the key judgments of the NIE to come out," Mr. Fitzgerald wrote.

Mr. Libby is said to have testified that "at first" he rebuffed Mr. Cheney's suggestion to release the information because the estimate was classified. However, according to the vice presidential aide, Mr. Cheney subsequently said he got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush. "Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE," the prosecution filing said.

GOI: This testimony about Bush authorizing the leak information is awkward for the White House at best. Especially given these comments from Bush:

"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. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of.

"I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job.

"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."

GOI: Let's pound the cable and newspaper agencies with emails to report this and look into it further. Don't forget to contact your Representative and Senators as well.

This whole thing REAKS and seems very devious.

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1 comment:

Zen Unbound said...

Good report, James.

This investigation seems snail slow to me, but I think we do have to leave things with Pat Fitzgerald to move things along. I have faith that he is tenacious and brilliant at what he's about.

It will be interesting to see what Bush now says. I expect he will infatically deny Libby's assertion -- but I will be on the lookout for weasel words.

It was convenient for Bush that he arranged not to be under oath when he talked to prosecutors in his private interview on the issue.

Now, because he is tied into the chain of events, it should be necessary for Bush to testify before the Grand Jury -- just as Clinton had to on the Paula Jones matter.

It is getting very interesting.

Perhaps Rove got off the hook since he, from the onset, ratted out Bush.