Thursday, April 06, 2006

I told you this was going to be huge..... eventually

From Rueters

"President George W. Bush authorized the leak to the media of classified material about Iraq, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney said according to court papers filed by prosecutors and made public on Thursday.

The aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, also testified that he was specifically directed by Cheney to speak to the media about the intelligence information and about Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador who had criticized Bush's Iraq policy, according to the papers.

Libby has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after an investigation into the leaking to the media of the fact that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent, which Wilson says was done to pay him back for his criticisms.

The court documents made public on Thursday emerged from that investigation.

The reported authorization by Bush of disclosure of secret material in 2003 came at a time when the March 2003 Iraq invasion was being challenged after U.S. forces failed to find weapons of mass destruction, cited by Bush as the main reason for the action.

Bush had the authority to declassify and allow publication of the material. But the court papers said Libby noted "it was unique in his recollection" to get approval from the president, via the vice president, to discuss material with a reporter that would be classified if it were not for this approval.

The documents showed that Libby, testifying before a federal grand jury before his indictment, said that he got approval from Bush through Cheney to discuss the classified Iraq material with then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller."

So it's pretty obvious where this is going.

UPDATE. Check out Scotty's version from the White House.

Q Scott, has anyone -- has the President tried to find out who outed the CIA agent? And has he fired anyone in the White House yet?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Helen, that's assuming a lot of things. First of all, that is not the way this White House operates. The President expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. No one would be authorized to do such a thing. Secondly, there -- I've seen the anonymous media reports, and if I could find out who "anonymous" was, it would make my life a whole lot easier. But --


MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there's been no information that has been brought to our attention, beyond what we've seen in the media reports, to suggest White House involvement.

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