Bush acknowledged on Monday he ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq to respond to critics who alleged he manipulated intelligence to justify the war.

Bush offered his first comment on a prosecutor's disclosure last week that he authorized Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, to declassify Iraq intelligence.

The disclosure prompted a firestorm of criticism from Democrats who charged Bush was a hypocrite who denounces leaks of information while becoming the "leaker-in-chief." A Republican ally, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, urged Bush on Sunday to "tell the American people exactly what happened."

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