MORE DECLASSIFICATION MAGIC….Murray Waas reports today about yet another classified document that Dick Cheney told Scooter Libby to leak to the press. This one was a CIA report on Joe Wilson’s trip in early 2002 to Niger:
The March 2002 intelligence report was a debriefing of Wilson by the CIA’s Directorate of Operations after Wilson returned from a CIA-sponsored mission to Niger to investigate claims, later proved to be unfounded, that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation, according to government records.
The debriefing report made no mention of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, then a covert CIA officer, or any role she may have played in her husband’s selection by the CIA to go to Niger, according to two people who have read the report.
The previously unreported grand jury testimony is significant because only hours after Cheney reportedly instructed Libby to disclose information from the CIA report, Libby divulged to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper that Plame was a CIA officer, and that she been involved in selecting her husband for the Niger mission.
The implication of the third paragraph is that perhaps Cheney instructed Libby to leak Plame’s identity at the same time he instructed him to leak the contents of the trip report. However, I’m not sure this makes sense, since the leak Waas is writing about happened on July 12, 2003, and Miller says Libby had already mentioned Plame’s employment twice before that. I’m open to correction or clarification on this point, though.
In any case, the obvious question this raises is: Just how many reports did Cheney hastily “declassify” in order to get back at Wilson? Perhaps President Bush should direct his vice president to give us a full tally.
UPDATE: Was this really another case of “declassification magic”? Jane Hamsher spoke today to Joe Wilson, and he says his understanding is that his trip report is still classified.