Timing is EVERYTHING
They say timing is everything. Well, the White House is going to have to pull some pretty nifty magic tricks to go back in time to correct the timing of the leak.
On July 18, 2003, McClellan said the information had been declassified that day. “It was officially declassified today,” he told reporters in a briefing in Dallas, Texas.This was ten days after prosecutors allege Mr. Libby discussed the information with a New York Times reporter. Either the material was still classified at the time Libby disclosed it, or McClellan is lying.
McClellan declined to address the conflict between his and Libby's time line.Nice try.
But he also tried to clarify his 2003 remarks to reporters, saying that what he meant July 18 of that year when he said the material had been declassified that day was that it was "officially released" that day.
"I think that's what I was referring to at the time," he said.
Libby also leaked information from the National Intelligence Estimate to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post before the date that the White House said it was officially declassified.Sounds like someone was doing a lot of yapping prior to when the White House says it disclosed or declassified the documents.
In sworn testimony, Woodward told Fitzgerald that on June 27, 2003 - 11 days before the Libby-Miller conversation - Libby told him about the CIA estimate and an Iraqi effort to obtain "yellowcake" uranium in Africa, according to a statement Woodward released Nov. 14, 2005.
In an interview, Woodward said his notes, which were not released publicly but were shown to Fitzgerald, included Libby using the word "vigorous" to describe the Iraqi effort. Libby used similar language when he provided the NIE information Bush declassified to Miller at their July 8, 2003, meeting, according to Fitzgerald's filing.
In another, related fumbling . . .
McClellan spent nearly an hour drawing a distinction between the leaking of information judged to be "in the public interest" and the willful disclosure of information that could endanger national security.Wait a minute. How does "classified information that jeopardizes U.S. sources, methods and lives" suddenly become "in the public interest" to disclose?
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[Elsewhere, McClellan] said that the White House draws a distinction between leaking classified information that jeopardizes U.S. sources, methods and lives, and disclosing sensitive information "when it is in the public interest."
There is no suggestion by Mr. Fitzgerald that either President Bush or Vice President Cheney told Mr. Libby to leak her name.Tell that to the jury, Scott.
McClellan dismissed as "crass politics" the suggestion from some Democrats that Mr. Bush sanctioned or engaged in a scheme to disclose sensitive information that would presumably include releasing Ms. Plame's identity.