....no matter what these sloppy news reports say.
The latest appears in today's NYTs.
The Times reports that an unnamed "senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday" that Bush ordered the declassification of certain prewar intel on Iraq.
Evidently, this unnamed official only spoke to the Times after the AP published a supposed confirmation from an unnamed "attorney knowledgeable about the case".
The Times only vaguely concedes that this senior official's statements were in advancing the administrations agenda on this topic and key questions were not answered.
Neither unnamed source has offered any basic details of this alleged declassification by Bush, such as the extent of the declassification, dates or documentary evidence to memorialize the declassification. Based upon these reasons alone, we can assume both sources are lying.
This basic info is the key. No one seems to question that the President has the authority to declassify intel, which makes perfect sense. However, there must be some administrative procedure for declassify anything that at a minimum details the extent of the declassification (an entire report or only portions?) date, and acknowledgment of the authority to declassify. How else would anyone know what was and was not classified?
Anyone who has ever delt with the Federal Government will understand that the only record of a declassification cannot be the living memory of the people in the room when it took place. There must be a least a memo somewhere evidencing the basic details of the declassification.
And since there is no reason not to release declassified information to anyone who asks, nothing short of the written documentation of the extent of any declassification will confirm anything. If the Niger info was not classified, no one would care who released it to whom, and to the extent there was a question, the written documentation of the declassified information would end any dispute.
In short, these press reports of unnamed sources providing self-serving info don't confirm jack!
If this info was actually declassified, the matter would be cleared up instantly with documentation.
The lack of any documentation should tell anyone possessed of common sense that they are being schnookered.