What with all the scandals and the unreliable coverage of them, you may be confused about what exactly is going on with Bush's classification/declassification dance.
It's actually rather, painfully, simple.
Bush received the National Intelligence Estimate in 2002 with a number of different, sometimes conflicting assessments of threats posed by Iraq.
Because he already planned to attack Iraq and was simply interested in bolstering his case, he selectively de-classified some of it and pushed it to the public.
Now this could be a murky and sloppy point -- after all, how do you prove, especially without seeing the remainder of the classified information, that Bush cherry-picked? That he didn't actually choose truthful, if mildly disputed, info?
(Aside from his track-record of being a liar, of course.)
Except, there is, though you'd barely know it by reading the paper, compelling evidence of deliberate deception.
If Libby had actually passed on the key judgments of the NIE to [Judith] Miller, Miller would have discovered that it had NO mention of the uranium claim.
So, it appears that Libby, Bush and Cheney tried to deliberately misrepresent the NIE to reporters by claiming that the uranium claim was part of the NIEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s key judgments (even though it was not) and then tried to leak the contents from the body of the NIE (minus the annex) to make it appear as if the NIE made a strong case against Joseph WilsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s claims.But what do you get from reporting and editorials? First, this dungpile from the WaPo's editors and now this, via Christy Hardin Smith:
Steno Deb Reichman of the AP repeated the White House CYA spin verbatim without one mention Ã¢â‚¬â€ not one Ã¢â‚¬â€ of the fact that the White House selectively leaked only those portions of the NIE which agreed with their public position.The latest, ironically, comes from the Washington Post's front page, seemingly doing battle with its editorial writers. Joby Warrick writes that 7 weeks after the fall of Baghdad, Bush claimed (which administration officials repeated ad nauseam...) that two mobile trailers found in Iraq were actually weapons labs; that "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."
"But," Warrick writes, "even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true."
A 122-page report compiled by British and U.S. experts, secreted away for obvious reasons, had already concluded that this was not true. Despite this, and without disputing the contention that Bush knew about this beforehand, the White House demanded an apology today!
Via Tim Tagaris, we find out that Howard Dean wants more information...