What’s an intelligence leak or two, to slime a critic, if a war is at stake?
It turns out Scooter Libby got the green light from George W. Bush himself to attack ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson, using sensitive intelligence about Wilson’s wife, a CIA operative.
The Washington Post has a lengthy treatment of the latest twist in this scandal:
President Bush authorized White House official I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to disclose highly sensitive intelligence information to the news media in an attempt to discredit a CIA adviser whose views undermined the rationale for the invasion of Iraq, according to a federal prosecutor’s account of Libby’s testimony to a grand jury.
The story does not fail to include Bush’s now notorious quote:
Three months before Fitzgerald [the prosecutor] began his probe in December 2003, Bush said at a news conference that "I’ve constantly expressed my displeasure with leaks, particularly leaks of classified information. . . . If there’s a leak out of the administration, I want to know who it is. And if a person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."
Yeah. Because, you know, that would be me.
The New York Times story adds more context:
The disclosure occurred at a moment when the White House was trying to defend itself against accusations that it had inflated the case against Saddam Hussein.
The president has the authority to declassify information, and Mr. Libby indicated in his testimony that he believed Mr. Bush’s instructions — which prosecutors said Mr. Libby regarded as "unique in his recollection" — gave him legal cover to talk with a reporter about the intelligence.
Courtesy of Political Animal, I found Fitzgerald’s filing on (where else?) Smoking Gun. Maybe Jesus told Bush, Libby, and Dick Cheney to do it, in order to "exceed" his other disciples? "You will be cursed by the other generations, and you will come to rule over them." Sounds about right.