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

This "leak about a leak" is prime fodder for a Senior Administration Official Guessing Game:

questionmark.gifA senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday 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.

But the official said that Mr. Bush did not designate Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., or anyone else, to release the information to reporters.

The statement by the official came after the White House had declined to confirm, for three days, Mr. Libby's grand jury testimony that he had been told by Mr. Cheney that Mr. Bush had authorized the disclosure. The official declined to be named, because of an administration policy of not commenting on issues now in court.

But the official was happy to comment anonymously, because of an administration policy in favor of strategic leaking to the New York Times.

Here's an additional hint from the article: "The official responded briefly via e-mail on Sunday to questions from The New York Times." This rules out old-school, techno-phobic officials like Donald Rumsfeld and Michael Chertoff, who don't use email.

Any thoughts on who the Times source might be? Post your guesses in the comments to this post, or send them to us by email (subject line: "Guessing Game").

Bush Ordered Declassification, Official Says [NYT]


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