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NYT: Bush Ordered Declassification, (senior administration) Official Says [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-09-06 09:58 PM
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NYT: Bush Ordered Declassification, (senior administration) Official Says
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Bush Ordered Declassification, Official Says
By DAVID E. SANGER and DAVID JOHNSTON
Published: April 10, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 9 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.

The statement by the official came after the White House had declined to confirm, for three days, Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony that he had been told by Mr. Cheney that Mr. Bush had authorized the disclosure. The official declined to be named, because of an administration policy of not commenting on issues now in court. The disclosure appeared intended to bolster the White House argument that Mr. Bush was acting well within his legal authority when he ordered that key conclusions of the classified National Intelligence Estimate, which was completed in the fall of 2002, should be revealed to make clear that intelligence agencies believed Mr. Hussein was seeking uranium in Africa.

Moreover, the disclosure seemed intended to suggest that Mr. Bush may 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....

***

The explanation offered Sunday left open several questions, including when Mr. Bush acted and whether he did so on the advice or at the request of Mr. Cheney. Still unclear is the nature of the communication between Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. Also unknown is whether Mr. Bush fully realized what information Mr. Cheney planned to disclose through Mr. Libby or was aware of the precise use that Mr. Cheney intended to make of the material....

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/10/washington/10leak.htm...
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