David, you (like every other journalist on the story) have taken at face value Libby's report that Cheney was authorized by the President to release (declassify) a classified document. How do we know Bush authorized it? Only because Cheney (allegedly) told Libby so. This is first year law school stuff: The fact that Cheney claimed to be acting under Presidential authority doesn't make it so.
I haven't seen any references to any written (and non-backdated) document authorizing the Vice President to assume Presidential authority to declassify documents. If there were one, surely Libby would have mentioned it somewhere along the line. Given what we know about how Cheney operates, it seems much more likely that Cheney just took on himself the authority to declassify (or the willingness to leak it regardless), and that Bush and his side of the White House knew nothing about it until after the fact.
So please be more cautious about saying that Bush in fact authorized the disclosures. Maybe, maybe not. If not, it looks like pretty clear grounds to impeach and/or indict the Vice President (first) for improper release of classified information and abuse of power.
Mar 8 2007 - 10:58pm