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Cube Jockey
The National Journal has a pretty amazing story today about recent developments in the Scooter Libby trial.

QUOTE
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.

~snip~

But besides sharing details of the NIE with reporters during the effort to rebut Wilson, Libby is also accused of telling journalists that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, had worked for the CIA. Libby and other Bush administration officials believed that if Plame played a role in the selection of her husband for the Niger mission, that fact might discredit him.


Questions for debate:
1. If Libby's testimony is accurate would impeachment and criminal proceedings be in order for senior members of the White House.

2. Will Libby's "Oliver North" defense be a good strategy for him?

3. Assuming this story holds up to scrutiny, what effect will it have on the 2006 and 2008 elections?
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Amlord
The 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was declassified July 18, 2003. link

The article does not refer to specific dates, only that Libby divulged this information "after the Iraq war started" which would be after March 2003.

In addition, I think by definition the President cannot divulge classified information, since he has final authority to declassify something. Even something that is classified by an agency may be appealed to the President for review.

This is covered under EXECUTIVE ORDER 12958.

I'm not sure if the Vice President falls under the "supervisory" position under Section 3.1.c.3 of that order.

2. Will Libby's "Oliver North" defense be a good strategy for him?

Anyone who has seen "A Few Good Men" knows that that defense is not a valid one, unless the authorizing agent's commission of the same act would not be a crime.

3. Assuming this story holds up to scrutiny, what effect will it have on the 2006 and 2008 elections?

Most Americans would probably say "Scooter who?"
Cube Jockey
QUOTE(Amlord @ Feb 9 2006, 12:04 PM)
Most Americans would probably say "Scooter who?"
*


I doubt it Amlord, there was a ton of media coverage on this back in November/December 2005. There were numerous polls conducted on the subject and here is one such poll from CBS.

If the media covers the story, as they should, then the whole country will know about this scandal. Combined with the lobbying scandals and the wiretapping it isn't looking like a very promising 2006 for the White House.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
The article does not refer to specific dates, only that Libby divulged this information "after the Iraq war started" which would be after March 2003.


Actually, it states that:

QUOTE
Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons
Amlord
I stand corrected.

Since there is no classification under US law of "highly classified", the statement is a bit dubious. (There are only three classifications: Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential).

All I was pointing out was that the references-time wise-were vague.

In addition, the term "authorized" has a specific legal meaning, which probably would not escape Libby (a lawyer).
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