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|PRES. BUSH LINKED TO LEAK OF INFORMATION TO PRESS
LIBBY SAYS BUSH DECLASSIFIED SENSITIVE IRAQ INTEL TO PERMIT HIM TO LEAK IT TO JUDITH MILLER
7 April 2006
As the case against Lewis "Scooter" Libby proceeds, for violating the federal law prohibiting the disclosure of the classified identities of undercover agents, he has reportedly testified to a grand jury that Pres. Bush was directly involved in the leaking of other information to the press. The information emerges from a court filing by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, citing testimony given during grand jury proceedings.
The testimony reportedly refers to an incident, where Mr Libby gave information from a classified 'National Intelligence Estimate' to New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Libby has reportedly told the grand jury that it was Pres. Bush himself who authorized the leak, declassifying part of the document so that the information could be passed to the press.
Press reports suggest Libby's testimony was that the vice president's legal counsel explained to him that "presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document". This suggests that before the document was fully or formally declassified and released to the press at a briefing, Pres. Bush instructed Vice Pres. Cheney to have Libby leak the information to reporter Judith Miller, though the timing of the process and the specific instructions given are not yet clear.
While there is no indication at the moment that the president was directly involved in the leaking of undercover agent Valerie Plame's identity to the press, in what investigators say was retaliation against her husband for criticizing the case for war, it does demonstrate a questionable level of involvement between the highest elected official in the country and the efforts from the vice president's office to manipulate the press.
The Globe and Mail reports "Mr. Libby testified that he was allowed to reveal the most important conclusions of the estimate, including the contention that Iraq was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium." This links the leak directly to the issue of the Plame leak, because her husband's criticism of the administration specifically refuted the intelligence regarding alleged evidence of Iraq's efforts to procure "yellow-cake" uranium from Niger.
The documents which reportedly showed such efforts turned out to be crude forgeries, easily identified by UN experts once disclosed to them. As pressure mounted to find out who leaked Plame's name in order to intimidate her husband, Pres. Bush told the press "if there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. If the person has the violated law, that person will be taken care of", though cooperation in the investigation into the activities of the vice president's office was slow and selective.
The trial against Mr Libby is presently scheduled for next January. Analysts have begun to speculate that this evidence increases the likelihood that either or both the vice president and the president will be called to testify under oath as witnesses during Libby's trial. It is unclear whether any further indictments may come as a result of testimony related to Mr Libby's involvement in leaks of classified information. [s]
The office of the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, investigating the leaking of the classified identity of an undercover CIA agent, announced Friday a 5-count indictment [PDF] against Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby. Libby was charged on 1 count of obstruction of justice, 2 counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury. [Full Story]PROSECUTOR DISCOVERS CHENEY WAS LIBBY'S SOURCE
25 October 2005
The New York Times is reporting that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has discovered, in notes from a previously unknown conversation between VP Dick Cheney and his chief of staff I. Lewis Libby, that Cheney informed Libby of the status of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. [Full Story]MILLER RELEASED FROM CUSTODY, TESTIFIES
2 October 2005
NYT reporter Judith Miller has reportedly received a formal waiver from her confidential White House source to testify. She was released from prison on 29 September, after agreeing to speak to the grand jury investigating the leaking of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name by top government officials in the summer of 2003.
By the time of her release, Miller had served 85 days in custody... [Full Story]