Cheney's remark on leak may help Libby
Thu Feb 16, 2006 23:27

Bush Executive Order 13292 on Classified National Security Information
to amend executive order 12958, signed March 25, 2003.

Cheney's remark on leak may help Libby
By Pete Yost
Associated Press

February 16, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney disclosed Wednesday that he has the power to declassify sensitive government information, authority that could set up a criminal defense for his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Cheney's disclosure comes a week after reports that Libby testified under oath that he was authorized by superiors in 2003 to disclose highly sensitive prewar information to reporters. The information, about Iraq and alleged weapons of mass destruction, was used by the Bush administration to bolster its case for invading Iraq.

When special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald revealed Libby's assertions to a grand jury that he had been authorized by his superiors to spread sensitive information, the prosecutor did not specify which superiors.

But in an interview on Fox News, Cheney said there is an executive order that gives the vice president, along with the president, the authority to declassify information.

"I have participated in declassification decisions," Cheney said.

A legal expert, former Whitewater independent counsel Robert Ray, said Cheney's television appearance could foreshadow a Libby defense. He said Cheney's ex-chief of staff could point to authorization from his superiors as part of his strategy at trial.

On Oct. 28, Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about how he learned of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame and what he told reporters about it.

A defense that Libby was authorized by superiors to leak sensitive data about Iraq would not appear to provide any help on the charge of making false statements.

But Ray noted that setting up defenses before a jury involves more than simply constructing legal arguments.

"You're trying to present a persuasive case that your client should not be found guilty," Ray said. "You're saying that even if my client did it, this is not a case that warrants conviction."

Bush Executive Order 13292 on Classified National Security Information
to amend executive order 12958, signed March 25, 2003.

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Judge Orders Release of Spying Documents

Song: Dick & Harry

Judge Orders Release of Spying Documents
A federal judge dealt a setback to the Bush administration on its warrantless surveillance program, ordering the Justice Department on Thursday to release documents about the highly classified effort within 20 days or compile a list of what it is withholding.
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I
can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will
not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do,
I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God,
I will do." - Edward Everett Hale

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