Thursday, April 06, 2006

Red Herring Alert - Libby says Bush told him to talk

New York Times - In Court Filings, Cheney Aide Says Bush Approved Leak

If Mr. Libby's account is accurate, it also involves Mr. Bush directly in the swirl of events surrounding the disclosure of the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer.

Seattle Times - Bush authorized leak of Iraq intelligence, Libby claims

Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say.

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

Do you see a little difference in the two accounts.

The Smoking Gun has the documents.

Here is why I consider this revelation a red herring. In the first place the court briefing admits that President Bush has the authority to declassify information. Therefore it is not a leak of classified information. Secondly, and this is directly from the filing:

"Defendant was instructed to provide what was for him an extremely rare "on the record" statement and to provide "background" and "deep background" statements"

I think once they go on the record on the President's authority it stops being a leak and starts being a policy defense.

The reason behind this Ambassador Wilson had called the administration's credibility into question and the administration was defending itself, which I believe it is allowed to do.

This sheds no new light on the subject and would actually appear to exonerate Libby from most of the charges against him.

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