Well, this is the motherload. Apparently, our ol’ pal Scooter Libby (yeah, remember him … Plamegate) testified that his superiors (including Cheney — yes that Cheney) gave him permission to leak the dirt to journalists.
Crystal Patterson posted this on TedKennedy.com:
The National Journal’s Murray Waas is reporting that I. Lewis Libby testified that he was authorized to share classified information with reporters by his superiors. The article goes on to point out that one of those superiors is likely to be Vice President Cheney. This would mean that the Plame Leak might extend far beyond what has been previously reported.
Senator Kennedy has already given us his first impressions of these charges:
These charges, if true, represent a new low in the already sordid case of partisan interests being placed above national security. The Vice President’s vindictiveness in defending the misguided war in Iraq is obvious. If he used classified information to defend it, he should be prepared to take full responsibility. President Bush has clearly said he would ‘clean house’ of everyone who had anything to do with the Plame leak.
The American people are also entitled to know whether the President knew that classified information was being used for this purpose, and whether he authorized it himself.
In addition, they are entitled to know that the case will not be scuttled by the administration when the decisions are made on declassifying documents necessary for the trial.
The article paints a picture that is not pretty for the Administration or our country:
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.
Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein’s purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.
Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration’s use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.
You should read the entire article. And if you want to read more about the Plame Leak a good place to start is Murray Waas’ collection of articles on the subject.
Well, Crystal, looks like we got ourselves a whole new ballgame!
Too bad we have to wait until next January.