Yesterday we asked you for guesses as to the identity of the senior administration official who confirmed, by email to the New York Times, "that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq, in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein."

In the comments to the post, you offered a number of (mostly joking) answers. By email, we received a few more serious responses:

* Stephen Hadley, National Security Adviser

Perhaps; he's got to do something to earn his $160,000 (even if it's only $40,000 more than the $120,000 pulled down by outgoing White House pastry chef Thaddeus DuBois).

* "Hmm, well, sorta leaves Scott McClellan with the old ball, doncha think? Except it was email. Not sure the Scotster knows about email yet. More likely it was Karl Rove, having been thumped on the back of the head by little george ("fix it, turd blossom"). The fact that whoever it was used email means (a) they were out of town somewhere, not at a knowable phone number, and (b) in full panic mode, as the entire Administration is these days..."

Certainly possible. But we find this submission the most persuasive:

* "Definitely Dan Bartlett. He's the one charged with talking to major news organizations like the New York Times, and this is just the type of 'information give' that he would handle. And by the way, I wouldn't call it a leak. It's a pet peeve of mine when the term 'leak' is thrown around too loosely. Leaks are unauthorized, and if Bartlett was doing this, it surely was authorized -- he would have checked with others in the White House (e.g., Bolten, Card, Miers) before talking to the Times."

This sounds convincing to us. This does raise the question of who will pick up Bartlett's "information-giving" portfolio if he leaves the White House soon, as has been rumored.

Of course, some of you may not care who talked to the Times, sharing this reader's reaction: "I don't even think it really matters who leaked. After reading that article, I think they're just all equally as incompetent!"

Earlier:Senior Administration Official Guessing Game: The Case of the Meta-Leak


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