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Libby Says President Authorized Leak of Iraq Information

Nothing in the filing, made public Thursday in a New York Sun report, indicated that either President Bush or Cheney authorized the release of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The reported authorized disclosure of the Iraq information was around the time in 2003 that the Iraq invasion was being challenged after U.S. forces failed to find weapons of mass destruction.

Plame’s CIA status was made public in a July 14, 2003 column by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, eight days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction, according to the Associated Press.

In 2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa to investigate intelligence that Iraq had an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake from Niger, and Wilson concluded that there was no such arrangement.

According to grand jury testimony by New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Libby told her of Plame’s employment on July 8, 2003, shortly after the White House aide received authorization by President Bush through Cheney to release sensitive Iraq information, according to the court filing.

Libby’s conversation with 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,” the papers by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald stated, although they did not specify the “certain information.”

“Defendant testified that the circumstances of his conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval from the president through the vice president to discuss material that would be classified but for that approval — were unique in his recollection,” the papers added.

Libby is accused of making false statements about how he learned of Plame’s identity and what he told reporters about it.

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