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Libby Said Bush Allowed Intel Leak

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Chief of Staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, arrives for a hearing at Federal Court in Washington, Friday, Feb. 3, 2006. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton scheduled the Friday hearing to determine what progress was being made in the perjury and obstruction of justice case against him. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
AP
Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.

In a new filing from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, it was revealed that Libby's July 8, 2003 conversation with New York Times reporter Judith Miller "occurred only after the Vice President advised defendant that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information" in the National Intelligence Estimate.

Before his indictment, Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the Valerie Plame leak that Cheney told him to pass on the information and that it was Bush who authorized the leak, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

There was no indication in the filing that either Mr. Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Plame's identity as an undercover operative of the Central Intelligence Agency.

CBS News' Beverley Lumpkin explains that while it is "well within the power of the president (and arguably the vice president, too) to declassify a government document unilaterally … this is not only embarrassing to the president and vice president in tying them to the dirty business. It's also very damaging to Scooter Libby's defense strategy that he was so busy he couldn't possibly have remembered knowing about Wilson and his wife."