February 9, 2006


Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information (Murray Waas, Feb. 9, 2006, National Journal)

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

It's not the sort of White House where unauthorized leaks are very common, is it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 9, 2006 9:04 PM

I still can't make sense out this Plamegate thing. There still seems to be serious doubt that Plame was undercover and therefore it was a crime to reveal her. Plus this article goes directly against what Libby and others have been saying for the past year.

Libby's trial was pushed to 2007 - some feel this helps the Dems because it can be an issue for the '06 elections while others feel the case will be dropped well before then.

Posted by: AWW at February 9, 2006 9:38 PM


There was no crime until Libby started lying about it.

Posted by: oj at February 9, 2006 10:25 PM

OJ - I understand that. But this article makes it appear that a) a crime was committed and b) Libby purposely leaked this classified information as opposed to lying about it later.

Posted by: AWW at February 9, 2006 11:48 PM

Orrin, leaking classified information is always a crime, and neither Cheney nor anyone else has the power to "authorize" it.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 10, 2006 12:13 AM

Wouldn't authorizing it, declassify it?

Posted by: RC at February 10, 2006 6:00 AM

Leaking Plame's identity wasn't illegal which is why he wasn't charged for it. Had he told the truth the investigation would have been over, more likely never would have started.

Posted by: oj at February 10, 2006 7:46 AM

If its authorized, it isn't a leak. By definition a leak is unauthorized disclosure of information. If it was authorized it was just a briefing, albeit it is likely it was anonymous.

Posted by: Mikey at February 10, 2006 7:46 AM

Cheney has power under the relevant statute to classify info when he is acting in his "executive" capacity. So, he can de-classify as well.

Posted by: Bob at February 10, 2006 9:52 AM

Libby should have pulled a Jack Nicholson: "You're damn right I talked to reporters about Valerie Plame!" No one as stupid as his behavior indicates should have been allowed anywhere near the White House.

Posted by: b at February 10, 2006 10:54 AM

The supposedly classified information was not Plames identity but portions of the NIE. Parts of the NIE were already declassified and several administration figures were openly discussing them that summer -- and its unclear whether it was these parts that Libby mentioned to reporters or the redacted portions.

Shorter Jim in Chicago -- another made up scandal. Thanks AP/dems.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 10, 2006 12:44 PM

Probably so, but Bob, Mikey and RC are still wrong about "authorization." In general, authority to declassify a document rests with the agency that wrote the document. In the case of the NIE that's the CIA, not the office of the president or the vice president. And releasing classified information to anyone without both a clearance and a need to know is a federal offense, always. The fact that political appointees get away with it all the time doesn't make it any less so.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 10, 2006 1:28 PM

The offices of President and Vice-President are superior to the agencies that report to them. To claim that the CIA has more authority that the Pres or VP is nuts.

Posted by: fred at February 10, 2006 2:22 PM

No, Joe. That isn't what I meant by "authorized". He was told by his superiors to do it, hence it wasn't a leak. And his superiors don't get much more superior.

Posted by: Mikey at February 10, 2006 5:21 PM