In recent days President Bush has come under intense criticism for authorizing the leak of the National Intelligence Estimate as part of an effort to punish former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. How has the White House responded? More leaks. From today’s New York Times:
A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein.
But the official said that Mr. Bush did not designate Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., or anyone else, to release the information to reporters.
…Moreover, the disclosure seemed intended to suggest that Mr. Bush might have played only a peripheral role in the release of the classified material and was uninformed about the specifics “” like the effort to dispatch Mr. Libby to discuss the estimate with reporters.
It’s time for President Bush to stop spinning this story with “senior administration officials” and, as Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) suggests, speak directly to the American people about exactly what happened.
More on this issue at Americablog.