George Bush 'A Criminal Action' OK'd Iraq Leak says Scotter Libby



President Bush gave a press conference on October 6, 2003. In it he was asked about the Valerie Plame leak. He called it a "criminal action." Here were his comments (from CNN, available on

QUESTION: Mr. President, on another issue, the CIA Leakgate, what is your confidence level in the results of the DOJ investigation about any of your staffers not being found guilty or being found guilty? And what do you say to critics of the administration who say that this administration retaliates against naysayers?

BUSH: Now, well, first of all, I'm glad you brought that question up. This is a very serious matter. And our administration takes it seriously. As members of the press corps here know, I have, at times, complained about leaks of security information, whether the leaks be in the legislative branch or in the executive branch, and I take those leaks very seriously. And therefore, we will cooperate fully with the Justice Department.

I've got all the confidence in the world the Justice Department will be do a good, thorough job. And that's exactly what I want them to do is a good, thorough job. I'd like to know who leaked. And if anybody's got any information inside our government or outside our government who leaked, you ought to take it to the Justice Department, so we can find out the leaker.

I have told my staff, I want full cooperation with the Justice Department. And when they ask for information, we expect the information to be delivered on a timely basis. I expect it to be delivered on a timely basis. I want there to be full participation, because I am most interested in finding out the truth.

And, you know, there's a lot of leaking in Washington, D.C. It's a town famous for it.

BUSH: And if this helps stop leaks, this investigation in finding the truth, it'll not only hold someone to account who should not have leaked -- and this is a serious charge, by the way. We're talking about a criminal action. But also hopefully we'll help send a clear signal we expect other leaks to stop as well. And so I look forward to finding the truth.


Michael Kranish, Boston Globe April 7, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush authorized the leak of a classified intelligence report about Iraq to a New York Times reporter, according to court papers that quote I. Lewis ''Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Libby said, according to the papers, that he leaked the information in July 2003 to reporter Judith Miller ''only after the vice president advised [Libby] that the president specifically had authorized [the] defendant to disclose certain information" from the intelligence report.

The intelligence report stated that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons and was intent on acquiring materials for nuclear weapons. The report also said the State Department was ''highly dubious" about intelligence purporting to describe Iraq's efforts to obtain nuclear materials.

But the court papers do not indicate whether Libby mentioned those doubts when he leaked information from the report, raising the possibility that Libby was leaking selectively in a way that overstated Iraq's effort to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

It is uncertain what impact, if any, the leak had on Miller's reporting. Previously, the administration had cited Miller's stories about Hussein's weapons programs to buttress its case for war.

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