Scott McClellan Dismantles Cheney’s Plame Firewall

When evidence from the Scooter Libby trial showed that Dick Cheney had probably ordered Scooter Libby to leak Valerie Plame’s identity, Cheney built a firewall that legally excused the leak–but still insulated George Bush from involvement in knowingly outing a CIA spy. Cheney claimed, on at least two occasions, that he himself had the authority to declassify classified information, presumably up to and including Valerie Plame’s identity. Yet new information from Scott McClellan dismantles Cheney’s firewall; McClellan reveals that in the same period when Cheney was claiming he had the authority to declassify such information, the White House Counsel’s Office under Harriet Miers disagreed that the Vice President had such declassification authorities.

The Evidence Cheney Ordered Libby to Leak Plame’s Identity

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In spring of 2006, evidence was accumulating that Dick Cheney had ordered Scooter Libby to leak Valerie Plame’s identity to Judy Miller. We learned (and then, during the trial, we saw) that on July 7 0r 8, Cheney had ordered Libby to leak something to Judy Miller. We learned from Miller’s newspaper account (and then, during the trial, from her testimony) that after receiving that order, Libby proceeded to leak Plame’s identity to Miller.

And, as we got more information, we learned that Scooter Libby’s cover story for that order and that leak–that Cheney had only ordered him to leak the National Intelligence Estimate–could not be true. That’s because (among other reasons), Libby claimed he did not leak the classified information Cheney ordered him to leak until he got reassurances from David Addington that the President could insta-declassify classified information, thereby making such a leak legal….