The Cat's Out of The Bag
Lewis "Scooter" Libby apparently had serious qualms about leaking classified intelligence to the press, but he was quickly persuaded to drop them. There was pressure from his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, who advised him that the president had authorized Libby to do so. End of discussion.But . . .
Fitzgerald asserted that "the president was unaware of the role" that Libby "had in fact played in disclosing" Plame's CIA status. The prosecutor gave no such assurance [regarding] Cheney.Nevertheless . . .
Libby at first told the vice president that he could not have the July 8, 2003, conversation with Miller because of the classified nature of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, Fitzgerald said. Libby testified to the grand jury "that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions" of the NIE.Libby was clearly involved in revealing Plame's identity, which means that the President is either clueless or he lied when he released a statement that Libby wasn't involved.
Libby testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then counsel to the vice president, "whom defendant 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."
Libby testified that he was specifically authorized to disclose the key judgments of the classified intelligence document because it was thought that its conclusions were "fairly definitive" against what Wilson had said and the vice president thought that it was "very important" for those key judgments to come out, the court papers stated.
After Wilson began attacking the administration, Cheney had a conversation with Libby, expressing concerns on whether a CIA-sponsored trip to the African nation of Niger by Wilson "was legitimate or whether it was in effect a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," Fitzgerald wrote. The suggestion that Plame sent her husband on the Africa trip has gotten widespread circulation among White House loyalists.
Wilson said he had concluded on his trip that it was highly doubtful Niger had sold uranium yellowcake to Iraq.
The prosecutor's court papers offer a glimpse inside the White House when the Justice Department launched a criminal investigation of the Plame leak in September 2003.
Libby "implored White House officials" to issue a statement saying he had not been involved in revealing Plame's identity, and that when his initial efforts met with no success, he "sought the assistance of the vice president in having his name cleared," the prosecutor stated.
The White House eventually said neither Libby nor Karl Rove had been involved in the leak. Rove remains under criminal investigation.
No doubt, he will claim ignorance. But according to this account, Cheney got Bush to authorize the leak AFTER Libby expressed concern about releasing "the relevant portions." This tends to show that Cheney indeed advised Bush on the specific information for which declassification was required.
Alternatively, if in fact Bush is clueless, how much longer can our country survive with a half-wit at the helm?