Libby Says President Authorized Leak of Classified Info, Contradicting Prior Bush Statements

In October, a source told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that President Bush was directly involved in the CIA leak scandal. It looks like Stephanopoulos’ source was right.

According to court documents released in the Scooter Libby case, the former chief of staff to the Vice President received “the specific permission of President Bush” to leak a highly classified intelligence document:

Defendant testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE. Defendant testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom defendant considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document.

Although the White House press corps has never pressed Bush on his personal involvement, Bush has repeatedly implied that knew nothing about leaks from the White House:

“There’s just too many leaks, and if there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is.” [Bush, 9/30/03]

“I want to know the truth. I have no idea whether we’ll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers.” [Fox News, 10/8/03]

“I’d like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information.” [Bush, 10/28/03]

For more on Bush’s role in leaking sensitive information, see Murray Waas’ latest article.