Just opened email to check on something, and this 47-minute-old news was up on Yahoo.
Man, this has to send shockwaves to change the tide --
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
47 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's former top
aide told prosecutors that President Bush authorized a
leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq,
according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the
CIA leak case.
The filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald also
describes Cheney involvement in I. Lewis Libby's
communications with the press.
There was no indication in the filing that either Bush
or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's
CIA identity. But it points to Cheney as one of the
originators of the idea that Plame could be used to
discredit her husband, Bush administration critic
Before his indictment, Libby testified to the grand
jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him
to pass on prewar intelligence on Iraq and that it was
Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers
say. According to the documents, the authorization led
to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and
New York Times reporter Judith Miller. In that
meeting, Libby made reference to the fact that
Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
According to Fitzgerald's court filing, Cheney, in
conversation with Libby, raised the question of
whether a CIA-sponsored trip by Wilson "was legitimate
or whether it was in effect a junket set up by Mr.
The disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that
the president and the vice president put Libby in play
as a secret provider of information to reporters about
prewar intelligence on Iraq.
Presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said Thursday
the White House would have no comment on the ongoing
investigation. At a congressional hearing, Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales said the president has the
"inherent authority to decide who should have
Libby is asking for voluminous amounts of classified
information from the government in order to defend
himself against five counts of perjury, obstruction
and lying to the FBI in the Plame affair.
He is accused of making false statements about how he
learned of Plame's CIA employment and what he told
reporters about it.
Bush's political foes jumped on the revelation about
"The fact that the president was willing to reveal
classified information for political gain and put the
interests of his political party ahead of America's
security shows that he can no longer be trusted to
keep America safe," Democratic National Committee
Chairman Howard Dean said.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, "The more we hear,
the more it is clear this goes way beyond Scooter
Libby. At the very least, President Bush and Vice
President Cheney should fully inform the American
people of any role in allowing classified information
to be leaked."
Libby's testimony indicates both the president and the
vice president authorized leaks. Bush and Cheney both
have long said they abhor that practice, so much so
that the administration has put in motion criminal
investigations to hunt down leakers.
The most recent instance is the administration's
launching of a probe into who disclosed to The New
York Times the existence of the warrantless domestic
The authorization involving intelligence information
came as the Bush administration faced mounting
criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass
destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and
his aides had given for going to war.
Libby's participation in a critical conversation with
Miller on July 8, 2003 "occurred only after the vice
president advised defendant that the president
specifically had authorized defendant to disclose
certain information in the National Intelligence
Estimate," the papers by Special Counsel Patrick
Fitzgerald stated. The filing did not specify the
"Defendant testified that the circumstances of his
conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval
from the president through the vice president to
discuss material that would be classified but for that
approval — were unique in his recollection," the
Plame's husband, a former U.S. ambassador, said the
administration had twisted prewar intelligence to
exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass
After Wilson publicly attacked the administration on
Iraq on July 6, 2003, "Vice President Cheney,
defendant's immediate superior, expressed concerns to
defendant regarding whether Mr. Wilson's trip was
legitimate or whether it was in effect a junket set up
by Mr. Wilson's wife," the papers said.
After a 2002 CIA-sponsored trip to Africa, Wilson said
he had concluded that Iraq did not have an agreement
to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger.
Libby spoke to Miller on July 8, 2003, and
Fitzgerald's filing identifies Cheney as being
instrumental in having Libby speak again four days
later to Miller as well as to Time magazine reporter
Matt Cooper regarding Wilson. In all three
conversations, Libby told the reporters about Wilson's
wife, both Miller and Cooper have testified.
Her CIA status was publicly disclosed by conservative
columnist Robert Novak eight days after her husband
accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar
intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from
weapons of mass destruction.
Libby says he needs extensive classified files from
the government to demonstrate that Plame's CIA
connection was a peripheral matter that he never
focused on, and that the role of Wilson's wife was a
small piece in a building public controversy over the
failure to find WMD in Iraq.
Fitzgerald said in the new court filing that Libby's
requests for information go too far and the prosecutor
cited Libby's own statements to investigators in an
attempt to limit the amount of information the
government must turn over to Cheney's former chief of
staff for his criminal defense.
The court filing was first disclosed by The New York