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Bush authorised leaks on Iraq: US court papers

US President George W Bush authorised intelligence leaks ahead of the US invasion of Iraq.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 08:19 IST

US President George W Bush authorised intelligence leaks ahead of the US invasion of Iraq, indicted former top White House aide I Lewis "Scooter" Libby has said in court papers.

The revelation came as a federal prosecutor continues to investigate the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, in 2003 after her diplomat husband criticised the Bush administration's rationale for the war.

Libby, who is currently facing charges of obstruction and lying in the investigation, is suspected of having revealed Plame's job as an undercover CIA agent to a reporter -- a federal crime in the United States.

According to a document filed Wednesday by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and obtained on Thursday, Libby said he spoke to a New York Times reporter in July 2003 after learning from Vice-President Dick Cheney that Bush had authorised intelligence leaks.

"Defendant's participation in a critical conversation with Judith Miller ... Occurred only after the vice-president advised defendant that the president specifically had authorised defendant to disclose certain information in the NIE" (National Intelligence Estimate)," the document said.

The court document does not indicate that Bush or Cheney told Libby to unveil Plame amid the ongoing intrigue over the US drive to war with Iraq in 2003.

But Libby will go on trial in January 2007 on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements related to the Plame affair to investigators.