President George W. Bush gave authorization for the release of sensitive intelligence information about the war in Iraq in 2003, according to testimony from Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide.
In court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case, I. Lewis Libby, Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, told prosecutors that Cheney told him to pass on the name of a CIA agent and his wife to New York Times reporter in 2003. Libby claims Cheney told him Bush gave authorization for the information to be released.
“There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame’s CIA identity. But it points to Cheney as one of the originators of the idea that Plame could be used to discredit her husband, Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson,” reported the Associated Press.
In July 2003, New York Times reporter Judith Miller wrote an article on the Bush administration’s lack of evidence and failure to find weapons of mass destruction. According to court documents, Libby was given authorization from Cheney to release information contained in a National Intelligence Estimate. Valerie Plame, the name of the undercover CIA officer was also released, setting off investigations as to who released this sensitive information.
Bush has the power to declassify information; however, it is suspected that Bush may have agreed to release the information due to accusations that he lied about Iraq attempting to buy uranium in Africa.
“The authorization involving intelligence information came as the Bush administration faced mounting criticism about its failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the main reason the president and his aides had given for going to war,” reported the Associated Press.
Libby, who lost his post as a result of the leak, faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges in regards to the case. The Bush administration has previously had issues with information leaks, such as information regarding Bush’s unwarranted domestic surveillance program