Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Bush, Cheney, Libby and the Exposure of Valerie Plame and CIA Assets Working against WMD Proliferation

Murray Waas continues to pursue the story of the Bush Administration's response to Ambassador Wilson's op-ed in the New York Times. He reports that "Bush told prosecutors he directed Cheney to disclose classified information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson."
But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.

Bush also said during his interview with prosecutors that he had never directed anyone to disclose the identity of then-covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife. Bush said he had no information that Cheney had disclosed Plame's identity or directed anyone else to do so.

Libby has said that neither the president nor the vice president directed him or other administration officials to disclose Plame's CIA employment to the press. Cheney has also denied having any role in the disclosure.

. . .

A senior government official who has spoken to the president about the matter said that although Bush encouraged Cheney to get information out to rebut Wilson's charges, Bush was unaware that Cheney had directed Libby to leak classified information. The White House has pointed out that the president and vice president have broad executive powers to declassify whatever information they believe to be in the public interest. Meanwhile, court papers filed by Fitzgerald in April suggest that Libby was reluctant to leak any classified information to the press, and only did so after being assured that his actions were approved by both the president and vice president.

. . .

A senior government official familiar with the matter said that in directing Libby to leak the classified information to Miller and other reporters, Cheney said words to the effect of, "The president wants this out," or "The president wants this done."

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