If Bush wanted to answer Joe Wilson's very serious charge that he had used bad intelligence in his case for war, he should have simply stepped to the biggest podium in the world and said what he had to say.
Why not say:
Look, we are all very distressed about Mr.
Wilson's allegations that we used faulty intelligence to convince the American people of the need to invade Iraq, without any delay. So, today, I am de-classifying the complete NIE that was used by my administration as evidence for the prosecution of a war against Iraq.
This is too important a mission, for the
American people to be in doubt about it. So, declassifying the evidence we
looked at, is and important thing to do.
But we all know that that was not possible. He did not want the entire NIE released; only the parts of it that backed his agenda, which had been around since the early 90s, in one form or the other. There would have been huge redactions, and that would have raised even more questions.
So, he tasked Cheney with getting out talking points from the NIE that backed up the administration, while leaving out others which did not, and not just as an effort to inform the people, but to rain down the fires of hell on critics of the administration.
"Plausible deniability." I think we have heard that one before. It doesn't hold water, just as it didn't the last time it was used to protect a crooked president.
If he didn't know what his staff was doing to carry out his orders of emotional and psychological warfare on an American citizen and his family, he should have.
Guardian Unlimited Special reports Bush told Cheney to discredit diplomat critical of Iraq policy:
According to the National Journal, Mr Bush told prosecutors he directed Mr Cheney to disclose classified information both to defend his administration and to discredit Mr Wilson.
Elsewhere, the magazine quotes other government officials as saying that Mr Bush was very anxious to use classified information to counter Mr Wilson's charges, telling the vice-president: 'Let's get this out.'
However, the president told investigators that he never directed anyone to disclose Ms Plame's identity. He also said that he was unaware Mr Cheney had directed his chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, to covertly leak the information, rather than formally declassify it.