President Bush pauses as he speaks in Norfolk, Va., trying to bolster public backing for his war policies last October.
The president told federal investigators that he ordered Vice President Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter the allegations made by former Ambassador Joe Wilson that the White House had misrepresented intelligence to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with Bush’s statement, as quoted by Murray Waas of the National Journal.
If this story is correct, this not only links Bush with the CIA leak case, it puts him squarely at its helm.
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president’s statement.
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, the sources said.
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.