Thursday, April 06, 2006
So, this is a big deal.
The New York Sun, granted not the most revered news institution in the country but hey everyone scores sometimes, has just posted an article on it's website.

Here's the link to the article.

And here's a link to the actual court papers.

The article quotes court documents drawn up by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald; the documents reveal what seems to be part of Scooter's defense.

What is that defense? You might ask.

Why is it "a big deal?"

Well the summary of what Libby is saying, and you should read the article yourself it's that good, is that Cheney asked him to release information from the highly highly highly classified National Intelligence Estimate. This info was supposed to counteract Joe Wilson's pesky claims that the President was lying about the whole "Iraq was getting Uranium from Niger so that they could destroy Des Moine" thing.

So, there you have the Vice President encouraging an underling to release info from something that's ridiculously classified.

And then...Libby seems to have said something along the lines of "Dick have you lost you're fucking mind? I could go to jail. That's treason."

At which point Cheney said, "Oh it's ok, THE PRESIDENT, wants you to do this."

That's right folks, the President and the Vice Presdient authorized leaking highly classified information (which was wrong) to Judy Miller in order to cover his ass.

Now this sounds illegal to me, the article says that Fitzgerald doesn't indicate that this is illegal, so I guess maybe it's still up in the air.

Either way, it puts Bush and Cheney right in the mix of a scandal that won't go away, and that keeps getting closer and closer to the Oval Office.

Here are bits from the article, with some commentary:

A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case. The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter.

Mr. Libby is said to have testified that "at first" he rebuffed Mr. Cheney's suggestion to release the information because the estimate was classified. However, according to the vice presidential aide, Mr. Cheney subsequently said he got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush. "Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE," the prosecution filing said.

(((The fact that Libby knew something was fishy about this should raise some red flags. He knew something was wrong, and he probably already knew he was going to be the one to hang for it.)))

Mr. Libby told the grand jury that he also sought the advice of the legal counsel to the vice president, David Addington, who indicated that Mr. Bush's permission to disclose the estimate "amounted to a declassification of the document," according to the new court papers.

(((I guess Addington probably knows what he's talking about, but this sounds a little too close to the Nixonian stance of "It's legal if the President does it."))))

Mr. Libby's note, as typed up by the prosecution, reads like a stanza of verse:

"People have made too much of the difference in
How I described Karl and Libby
I've talked to Libby.
I said it was ridiculous about Karl
And it is ridiculous about Libby.
Libby was not the source of the Novak story.
And he did not leak classified information."

((This is evidently a note that Scooter gave to Press Sec Scott McClellan. It's supposed to be tips on what to say. But it's more like a creepy Ginsberg poem)).

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