On the Chris Matthews Show, Elisabeth Bumiller noted that President Bush had ordered Vice President Dick Cheney to authorize I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to leak portions of the National Intelligence Estimate on prewar intelligence. Bumiller then stated: "I'm totally in favor of leaking of any kind." But Bumiller neglected to mention that Libby testified that he had been authorized to leak false information to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence.
During the June 18 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller noted that President Bush had ordered Vice President Dick Cheney to authorize his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to leak portions of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on prewar intelligence to reporters. Bumiller then stated: "And just for the record, I would like to say I'm totally in favor of leaking of any kind. ... And I'm not going to denounce leaks as a reporter." But Bumiller neglected to mention that, according to special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Libby testified during the investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity that he had been authorized to leak false information to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller in an effort to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence.
In an April 5 court filing, Fitzgerald alleged that Libby's July 8, 2003, meeting with Miller "occurred only after the Vice President advised defendant [Libby] that the President specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE." Libby testified that he was authorized to advise Miler that the NIE stated that was 'vigorously trying to procure' uranium." However as Media Matters for America previously noted, the information Libby was reportedly instructed to give Miller -- that the NIE stated that Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure" uranium -- was not an accurate presentation of the NIE's findings. The NIE noted that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research called the claim "highly dubious" -- indicating that it was, at best, disputed within the intelligence community.
From the June 18 broadcast of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show:
MATTHEWS: Well, we know that [White House senior adviser] Karl Rove leaked to Matt Cooper of Time magazine, your magazine, [columnist] Joe [Klein]. And he also leaked to [syndicated columnist] Bob Novak, the original reporter of this whole story, the one who put the leak in the papers. The president said he would fire the person who leaked. Have we the shortest memory trail in the world that we now know the president has caught the leaker and he isn't going to do nothing about it except congratulate him? Am I being too strong here, Elisabeth, or do we have short attention here?
BUMILLER: No. I mean, yeah, we think people forget things in politics. And don't forget, this is the president who told Dick Cheney to tell Scooter Libby to please leak classified information from a national -- from a prewar intelligence estimate in July of 2003. So we know that the president certainly authorized one of these leaks. We don't know whether he talked to Karl about it or whether he authorized Karl Rove to do it, but we do know that there was an awful lot of leaking going on at this White House. And just for the record, I would like to say I'm totally in favor of leaking of any kind, and I'm not going to --
MATTHEWS: Because it helps.
BUMILLER: And I'm not going to denounce leaks as a reporter.