License to Lie
Conservatives want to dismiss the revelation that Bush and Cheney authorized Libby to leak classified material by asserting that the President has the authority to declassify anything he wants, and had done so implicitly by giving Libby the green light to disseminate such info. Fine. Whatever. I don't really care that the material was "classified." What I do care about is that they knew it was wrong before they leaked it. A story that will run in tomorrow's NY Times:
"Mr. Fitzgerald, in his filing, said that Mr. Libby had been authorized to tell Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, on July 8, 2003, that a key finding of the 2002 intelligence estimate on Iraq was that Baghdad had been vigorously seeking to acquire uranium from Africa.To sum up the obvious: Bush and Cheney KNEW that a piece of intelligence was uncertain at best, flat wrong at worst. They nevertheless told one of their henchmen to leak said material to the media to create almost from whole cloth a case for war.
But a week earlier, in an interview in his State Department office, Mr. Powell told three other reporters for The Times that intelligence agencies had essentially rejected that contention, and were "no longer carrying it as a credible item" by early 2003, when he was preparing to make the case against Iraq at the United Nations.
Mr. Powell's queasiness with some of the intelligence has been well known, but the new revelations suggest that long after he had concluded the intelligence was faulty, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were still promoting it."
--David Sanger and David Barstow, NY Times, April 9
NSA wiretapping aside, this alone should be cause for censure.