Thursday, April 06, 2006


Libby: Bush Authorized Leaks

FOXNews - Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

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

Before his indictment, Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the Plame leak that Cheney told him to pass on the information and that it was Bush who authorized the leak, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

But the disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that the president and the vice president put Libby in play as a secret provider of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The authorization came as the Bush administration faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and his aides had given for justifying the invasion of Iraq.

Libby's participation in a critical conversation with Miller on July 8, 2003 "occurred only after the vice president advised defendant that the president specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the National Intelligence Estimate," the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the "certain information."

"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," the papers added.