President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Dick Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president's statement.But here comes the parsing. Bush also said that he “never directed anyone to disclose” Valerie Plame’s identity, “had no information” that Cheney had disclosed it or directed anyone to disclose it, and was “unaware that Cheney had directed [Libby] to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.” And of course Libby has always maintained that neither Bush nor Cheney directed him to disclose Plame’s identity, either.
Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.
So, to summarize, here’s what we are meant to believe: The Bush administration wanted to discredit Joe Wilson. They thought a good way to do that was to inform the public that his wife was an undercover CIA operative. Bush tasked Cheney with getting that information out there, but wanted it done through proper channels. Somehow, Libby—Cheney’s chief of staff—found out about all this, except for the part where it was to be done legally, and, without either Bush or Cheney telling him to do so, he leaked the information before it was declassified.
Yes, that makes perfect sense.