This article below pretty much says what I see this issue as. No, the president did not break the law by "leaking" the NIE report. But you have to ask several questions.
1) Why was it "declassified" before it was declassified? Why was there a 10 day lag in between the leak, and when it was officially made declassified?
2) Why was it selectively declassified and why only release to "friendly" reporters if it was no big deal if this was not purely a political move?
3) Is the president really that dumb as to have not put 2 and 2 together and known it was Libby who outed Valerie Plame along with the NIE report? And if he is not that dumb, did he actively lie to Fitzgerald when interviewed? Regardless of his authority to declassify intelligence, he does not have the authority to subvert the law and obstruct justice. Nixon didn't, Clinton didn't, and neither does Bush.
4) If he was so disgusted by the leaking of classified intelligence, why did he lie to the American people and claim he knew nothing? He did. That part is obvious. If he had any intent of getting to the bottom of this and disclosing the truth, he could have put this all to bed a long time ago. He could have easily said that he authorized the declassification of intel and that Libby (if true) on his own and without any direction of the president, outed Plame. Instead, he continued to pretend he cared about leaks and continued to pretend he wanted to get to the bottom of this.
This is a fire storm of his own making. He cannot blame the MSM, democrats or liberals. He lied... again! He got caught... again!
We've Found the Leaker in the White House!
It's the president.
By John Dickerson
Posted Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 6:31 PM ET
President Bush has always made his view of leakers perfectly clear. Before, during, and after the Valerie Plame and NSA wiretapping leaks that have bedeviled his presidency, Bush has insisted that leakers thwart the proper functioning of government. In certain cases, they commit "treason." He has described leakers as low-level, frustrated bureaucrats who feed their own egos by passing along juicy tidbits to mangy reporters. As Bush told reporters in December 2001, "somebody in our government wanted to show off to his family or her family in between Christmas and New Year's by leaking information in the press … I don't know why people do that. I guess either to make you [the press] feel good and/or to make themselves feel good." Uriah Heep would have been a leaker.
Now we learn that the president himself is a leaker. We've always known that the commander-in-chief's distaste for leaking didn't stop it from happening (as it has in every administration), but this is the first time we appear to have direct evidence that Bush had his hand on the siphon. Documents filed yesterday by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald report that Scooter Libby told a federal grand jury that President Bush authorized him to leak information from a classified National Intelligence Estimate. Libby testified that Vice President Cheney told him that Bush "specifically had authorized" him to "disclose certain information in the NIE." The leak strategy was part of a larger administration effort to counter claims they had distorted evidence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction during the march to war.
Bush didn't authorize Libby to say anything about Valerie Plame, but when the leader of the free world says go ahead take a joy ride with classified information, can we be surprised that Libby or Karl Rove then went further? In the cut and thrust that surrounded those hectic days in July 2003, when CIA officials were leaking about faulty prewar intelligence, how could White House officials resist going too far once the president himself had diddled with the classification during a fracas?