Scottie McC doesn’t know it yet. But that’s basically what he revealed this morning on the Today Show (h/t Rayne).
During the interview, Scottie revealed the two things that really pissed him off with the Bush Administration. First, being set up to lie by Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. And second, learning that Bush had–himself–authorized the selective leaking of the NIE.
Scottie McC: But the other defining moment was in early April 2006, when I learned that the President had secretly declassified the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq for the Vice President and Scooter Libby to anonymously disclose to reporters. And we had been out there talking about how seriously the President took the selective leaking of classified information. And here we were, learning that the President had authorized the very same thing we had criticized.
Viera: Did you talk to the President and say why are you doing this?
Scottie McC: Actually, I did. I talked about the conversation we had. I walked onto Air Force One, it was right after an event we had, it was down in the south, I believe it was North Carolina. And I walk onto Air Force One and a reporter had yelled a question to the President trying to ask him a question about this revelation that had come out during the legal proceedings. The revelation was that it was the President who had authorized, or, enable Scooter Libby to go out there and talk about this information. And I told the President that that’s what the reporter was asking. He was saying that you, yourself, was the one that authorized the leaking of this information. And he said "yeah, I did." And I was kinda taken aback.
Now, for the most part, this is not new. We have known (since I first reported it here) that Scooter Libby testified that, after Libby told Dick Cheney he couldn’t leak the things Cheney had ordered him to leak to Judy Miller because it was classified, Cheney told Libby he had gotten the President to authorize the declassification of that information.
Thus far, though, we only had Dick Cheney’s word that he had actually asked Bush to declassify this information. We didn’t have Bush’s confirmation that he had actually declassified the information. In fact, we’ve had Dick Cheney’s claims that he–Dick–had insta-declassified via his super secret pixie dust declassification powers.