Libby Fingers Bush on Plame Leak?
Okay, the news first:
A former top aide to Vice President Cheney told a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA agent's identity that President Bush authorized him to disclose classified intelligence information about Iraq as a way of rebutting criticism from the agent's husband, according to court papers filed by prosecutors....This is, of course, either a yawner (if you're liberal or have been awake at any time in the past five years) or proof of nothing (if you've been awake but practicing the extreme form of fundamentalism required by the Bush faithful). There was never a question that Libby was acting alone, without authorization of his boss, only a question about whether he would admit Cheney's involvment. Bush's involvment is always less believable, principally because he doesn't seem competent to be trusted with the facts, so you never know what he's been cut in on.
In the court filing, Fitzgerald says Libby met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003, "only after the Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE...
he document says Libby "testified that he was specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller on that occasion because it was thought that the NIE was 'pretty definitive' against what Ambassador Wilson had said and that the Vice President thought that it was 'very important' for the key judgments of the NIE to come out. Defendant further testified that he at first advised the Vice President that he could not have this conversation with reporter Miller because of the classified nature of the NIE. Defendant testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE."
Around the blogosphere, all the moths are drawn to this flame, but I report this with a certain fatigue. I have absolutely no confidence anymore in our government. The GOP will never open hearings, the packed courts will offer ultra-favorable rulings to any probes, and the media will be distracted in exactly seven hours. Even video footage of Exxon execs stuffing checks into Bush's pockets wouldn't be enough to get him strung up. The country is run by crooks, and there's not a lot to be done about it. But I digress. Should you be more interested in the story reading is to be had. I offer you the cream ...
Needlenose offers a novel legal argument to the procedings. Much of the discussion revolves around the question of whether the information was actually classified. Kevin Drum explains. For an alternative take, the ever faithful Tom Maguire threads the needle for the defense (hey Tom, a tactical withdrawal might be the way to go about now), which Andrew Sullivan threatens to label naivete. Arianna goes charmingly snarky (I can't read her prose without hearing her accent, which adds snark to snark). PSoTD is singing my dreary, cynical tune (you can't dance to it, but it's great for smoky bars). Susie is short and sweet. Finally, Bob Fertik outlines the ways in which the story might have legs ... if anyone cared.