Thursday, February 02, 2006

Exclusive: Did Bush Receive a PDB regarding Joe Wilson?

Did President Bush personally receive information during his morning intelligence briefings about Joe Wilson's mission to Niger? Court filings in the CIA leak case appear to indicate that that may well might have been the case.

Information to be reviewed during the President's morning briefings are written up in what is known as Presidential Daily Briefs, or PDBs. Attorneys for I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, are demanding copies of any PDBs that CIA leak special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald might have obtained during the course of his investigation.

In a January 9, 2006 response to the discovery demand, Fitzgerald wrote back:

“As you no doubt well aware, the documents referred to as Presidential Daily Briefs (“PDBs”) are extraordinarily sensitive documents which are usually highly classified. We have never requested copies of any PDBs. However, we did ask for relevant documents relating to Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife; Valerie Plame Wilson... and the trip undertaken by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger in 2002 (even if the items/documents themselves did not refer to Wilson by name) from the Executive Branch of the President and the Office of the Vice President.

“We also sought from the Central Intelligence Agency documents relating to the same items, with the exception that the CIA was no requested to produce documents relating to the same items, with the exception that the CIA was not requested to produce documents in its files regarding Valerie Plame Wilson that were not related directly or indirectly to Ambassador Wilson’s travel to Niger in February 2002.

“In response to our requests, we have received a very discrete amount of material relating to PDBs. We have provided to Mr. Libby and his counsel (or are in the process of providing such documents consistent with the process of a declassification review) copies of any pages in our possession reflecting discussions of Joseph Wilson, Valerie Wilson and/or Wilson’s trip to Niger contained in (or written on) copies of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) in the redacted form in which we received them.”

One can click here to read a full set of the correspondence, which has been posted online, courstesy of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.

Expect the issue of the PDBs to be a point of contention this morning during Libby's appearance in federal court today regarding discovery issues between the prosecuction and defense.

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