Fox News' Carl Cameron adopted Republican attorney Victoria Toensing's false claim that President Bush's alleged authorization of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former vice presidential chief of staff, to leak portions of a classified NIE "has nothing whatsoever to do with the Valerie Plame matter."
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On the April 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, chief White House correspondent Carl Cameron adopted a false claim by Victoria Toensing, a Republican attorney and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration, that President Bush's alleged authorization of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-vice presidential chief of staff, to leak of portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) "has nothing whatsoever to do with the Valerie Plame matter."
Libby is accused of giving false statements to federal investigators regarding his role in leaking the identity of Plame, a then-undercover CIA agent, to reporters. Introducing the statement by Toensing, whom he identified only as an "expert," Cameron reported: "In court documents, special prosecutor [Patrick J.] Fitzgerald doesn't question the president's authority to declassify the NIE, which experts point out is not related to Libby's perjury and obstruction case." In fact, the very court documents Cameron cited state that the NIE leak is "relevant to show the importance that defendant [Libby] and his boss [Cheney] placed on the conversation concerning which he [Libby] later testified," potentially undermining Libby's defense that his false testimony was a result of simply forgetting about the conversations.
From a section of the documents titled "The Relevance of the NIE to This Case":
Defendant understood that the Vice President specifically selected him to talk to the press about the NIE and [former U.S. Ambassador and Plame's husband] Mr. [Joseph C.] Wilson [IV] on July 12, 2003, in place of then-Assistant to the President for Public Affairs, Cathie Martin, the usual press contact person from OVP [Office of the Vice President]. This is relevant to show the importance that defendant and his boss placed on the conversation concerning which he later testified. During his conversations with the press that day, defendant discussed Ms. Wilson's CIA employment with both Matthew Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third time). Thus, there is no way to present the relevant events concerning defendant's discussions with reporters about Ms. Wilson without discussing defendant's role in disseminating the key judgments of the NIE in those same conversations.
From the April 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:
CAMERON: In court documents, special prosecutor Fitzgerald doesn't question the president's authority to declassify the NIE, which experts point out is not related to Libby's perjury and obstruction case.
TOENSING: The president of the United States has absolute authority to authorize disclosure of any classified document. I'm just surprised that this -- we're even having a discussion about this NIE document because it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Valerie Plame matter.