White House 'declassified' argument at odds with event timeline
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Friday April 7, 2006
White House spokesman Scott McClellan today attempted to justify, rather than deny, allegations that President Bush authorized a leak of classified information to reporters in summer 2003.
"There is a difference between providing declassified information to the public when it's in the public interest and leaking classified information that involved sensitive national intelligence regarding our security," McClellan told reporters at a White House press briefing.
The White House, it seems, is attempting to argue that if Libby's allegations are true, the information was not leaked by definition. Rather, it was declassified by the President because it was in the public's interest.
McClellan stated that while the information Bush may have ordered disclosed was in the interest of national security, the revelation of the warrantless NSA domestic wiretap program was an example of a leak that was not.
On July 18, 2003, McClellan told the White House Press Corps that the "information was just, as of today, officially declassified." However, Libby spoke to reporters ten days earlier, according to the indictment, on July 8 of that year.