Monday, July 03, 2006

Countering good intelligence with bad

There's a banger of a story over at the National Journal, once again delivered by Murray Waas, informing us that George Bush had directed Cheney to use classified information to discredit Joe Wilson. How's that for keeping the nation's priorities straight?

How is this known? Bush, himself, told federal prosecuter Fitzgerald:
Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson.
Bush apparently wanted to go through proper channels of declassification and the amusing part of this is that Bush was unaware that Cheney had already enjoined Libby to leak classified information rather than go through all that tedious bureaucratic malarky:
But Bush told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.
This "classified information" is still referring to pieces of the National Intelligence Estimate that hyped up WMD claims. Apparently, Bush did not intend any exposure of a CIA NOC -- hell, he probably didn't even know what a CIA NOC was then. That was all Cheney's idea, which we more or less knew anyway. But what this does deliver yet more information Cheney does what he wants and apparently is not compelled to tell Bush anything of his doings.

But it should be noted that the so-called "formal governmental declassification process," has been rather streamlined under the Bush administration. All it seems to require now is for Bush to reveal classified information and, ipso facto, it is at that moment officially declassified.

Waas' story is a good summary of the most recent developments in the Plame case.


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