Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Libby Testimony Points Directly to Bush, Cheney

According to trial transcripts obtained by Truthout, former White House staffer I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby testified before a grand jury in 2004 that Vice President Dick Cheney instructed him to divulge portions of a then-classified report to New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Libby testified that Cheney said authorization to leak a section of the report had come directly from President George W. Bush, the court transcripts state.

The document, titled the National intelligence Estimate, was officially declassified on July 18, 2003. However Libby testified before the grand jury in March 2004 that he had received instructions from Cheney on July 8, 2003, to release portions of the report to Judith Miller.

"The vice president instructed me to go talk to Judith Miller to lay things out for her," Libby said, according to court transcripts. Libby added that President Bush did not know Judith Miller, but authorized Libby to share the NIE with her. Miller did not publish a story based on the information Libby leaked to her.

Libby testified that the leak of the NIE to Miller was aimed at undermining the credibility of former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who on July 6, 2003, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times accusing the Bush administration of "twisting" pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Wilson's stinging rebuke of the administration led Libby and other White House officials to leak Wilson's wife's covert CIA status to reporters one week later.

Libby said, according to the court transcript, that the leak of the NIE on July 8, 2003, was a closely guarded secret and that only he, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President Bush were aware that some of its contents would be leaked.

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