- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Vice President Dick Cheney disclosed yesterday that he has the power to declassify sensitive government information, authority that could set up a criminal defense for his former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Mr. Cheney’s disclosure comes a week after reports that Mr. Libby testified under oath that he was authorized by superiors in 2003 to disclose to reporters sensitive prewar information about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.

In an interview on Fox News Channel, Mr. Cheney said an executive order gives the vice president, along with the president, the authority to declassify information.

“I have certainly advocated declassification. I have participated in declassification decisions,” Mr. Cheney said.

Asked for details, he said, “I don’t want to get into that. There’s an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously it focuses first and foremost on the president, but also includes the vice president.”

Mr. Cheney added a ringing endorsement of Mr. Libby, calling him “Scooter.”

“He is a great guy. I worked with him for a long time. I have tremendous regard for him. I may well be called as a witness at some point in the case, and it is therefore inappropriate for me to comment on any facet of the case,” he said.

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