Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks

An Administration official has been dispatched by Bush (or was it Karl Rove?) to distance Bush from Libby's leak to select reporters of portions of the NIE report about whether Saddam was in the process of acquiring uranium to build WMD's. The New York Times reports:

A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein. But the official said that Mr. Bush did not designate Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., or anyone else, to release the information to reporters

.....The official responded briefly via e-mail on Sunday to questions from The New York Times.....the [official's] disclosure seemed intended to suggest that Mr. Bush might have played only a peripheral role in the release of the classified material and was uninformed about the specifics -- like the effort to dispatch Mr. Libby to discuss the estimate with reporters.

Among the still unanswered questions:

  • When did Bush order the instant declassification? It was not officially declassified until July 18, but Libby leaked to Bob Woodward on June 27 and Judith Miller on July 8.
  • Did Bush declassify the material because Cheney asked or advised him to do so?
  • Why was the formal declassification on July 18 necessary if Bush had already declassified the material weeks earlier?

According to Fitzgerald's latest filing,

Mr. Fitzgerald's brief indicates that Mr. Cheney spoke twice with Mr. Libby about the leak of information from the intelligence estimate. Their first conversation took place sometime at the end of June, according to lawyers with clients in the case. The Washington Post reported Saturday that Mr. Libby provided information from the estimate to Mr. Woodward on June, 27, 2003.

So, is Bush throwing Cheney under the bus?

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    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#1)
    by Aaron on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 03:51:00 AM EST
    wwwoooooooooowwwwww!!! I'm a psychic, I'm predicting the future... ... war with Iran. And if what I just heard is correct on CNN, the US currently has troops within Iranian borders, is that correct? And all these little legal trivialities (like George W. Bush and the Bush administration committing treason, circumventing the will of the people through deception, and undermining the integrity of the republic) will just become just part of minutia of history, minutia that only future generations of nutty lawyers will argue over. But it seems that the Bush and the right wing lunatics are going to leave us with a little present before they leave office, THE WORLD WAR that they have always dreamed about. Thanks so much guys! How thoughtful, just what we always wanted. Right now I'm just waiting for the drumhead trial, to be held on the steps of the capital, in the shadow of the Capitol dome, under the eyes of the founding fathers, and every slave who was work to death in the shadow of that building. There he stands, Bush in what was once an Italian suit, now just tatters and shredded shards, the remnants of a red tie hanging by straggling threads beneath a broken and battered brow. But through it all somehow Georgie still manages that trademark smile, though now it's missing a few teeth. Millions have come from far and wide to witness the execution of the man who is now known only as the tyrant. Mostly the irradiated who have no fear of venturing outside since their days are already numbered. They've crossed what was once a beautiful nation now in ruins, to see George Dubya put to the sword. When asked if he has any last words, Georgie just freezes up and has to be guided smiling and nodding towards his position on the guillotine. Close by standing in front of the lever which will bring the blade down to sever the tyrant's neck, our new leader who will with his own hands bring us into the better brighter tomorrow. Our Savior! Dick Cheney OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#2)
    by john horse on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 03:58:17 AM EST
    Per an unnamed senior Bush administration official, the President declassified parts of a intelligence report but did not authorize anyone to release it. This doesn't make sense to me. What is the point of declassification if Bush had no intention of releasing or leaking that information?

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#3)
    by Sailor on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 06:45:12 AM EST
    the putrifying corpse of irony must be whirling in its grave; leaking to counteract the bad press from leaking. Sheesh!

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 07:53:09 AM EST
    Question Did bush or cheney authorize the "Admistration Official" to leak this lastest tidbit? And the leaks roll on. I submit there seems to be a belief in this admin that leaks have more authority than if they released it themselves. This also gives them the ability to deny the info if it backfires.

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 07:59:46 AM EST
    Aaron: And if what I just heard is correct on CNN, the US currently has troops within Iranian borders, is that correct? In January 2005, [Seymour] Hersh revealed that the USA was conducting covert operations in Iran to identify targets for possible strikes. This was dismissed by both US government as well as the Government of Iran. However, US government has not categorically denied that US troops have been on the ground in Iran.

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#6)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 08:29:00 AM EST
    The greymail tactic has not worked. So now what? Force the presidents hand to pardon. I bet that the heat in the kitchen can get much higher. Between Comstock's Libby Defense Fund and Team Libby I am sure that there is coordination. Libby seems too much the soldier to betray the WH. Face saving through pardons...... or is that saving one's a**. Funny how it is so hard to tell the difference.

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#7)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 09:15:37 AM EST
    Are they saying then, that Judy Miller spent three months in jail protecting a source that gave her declassified information?

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#8)
    by Andreas on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 10:31:35 AM EST
    Bill Van Auken (WSWS) writes:
    That top US officials may have convinced themselves that a US bombing campaign, which would undoubtedly cost thousands of lives and leave a substantial section of Iran's infrastructure in ruins, would trigger a pro-American uprising is indeed mind-boggling. Even more ominous, however, is the fact that they are drawing up plans for the first use of nuclear weapons in war--this time wholly unprovoked--since the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. ... Many observers point to the irrationality of launching a war against Iran under conditions where the US military is already stretched to the breaking point in neighboring Iraq, and where air strikes across the border would undoubtedly trigger upheavals within the Iraqi Shiite population, the majority of the country, making the US occupation even more untenable. Such reassurances, however, rely on the unwarranted assumption that rational considerations play the preponderant role in the formulation of the Bush administration's policies. A criminal and reckless military adventure is a very real possibility, arising to no small degree from the growing domestic political crisis of the Bush administration.
    Washington considering nuclear strikes against Iran By Bill Van Auken, 10 April 2006

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#9)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 10:59:32 AM EST
    Chaise Lounge- Greg Palast answers that question for you.
    Let's not forget that in the hunt for the perpetrator of this non-crime, reporter Judith Miller went to jail. Think about that. While Miller sat in a prison cell, Bush and Cheney were laughing their sick heads off, knowing the grand jury testimony, the special prosecutor's subpoenas and the FBI's terrorizing newsrooms were nothing but fake props in Bush's elaborate charade, Cheney's Big Con. .....most judges would consider this a "fraud upon the court" and send us to the slammer in minutes using the bench's power to administer instant punishment for contempt of the judicial system. .....   Statements aimed at misleading grand jury investigators are hard-time offenses......
    Gangasta Government Hard to have it both ways.

    Re: Bush, the Declassifications and the Leaks (none / 0) (#10)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 05:28:37 PM EST
    Squeaky, Thanks for the link. Palast is a blast.