General News

Libby Links Cheney to Plame Leak

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jason Leopold     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 6/4/08

Author 17
Become a Fan
  (7 fans)
- Advertisement -

The Public Record

FBI documents obtained by a congressional committee indicate that Vice President Dick Cheney may have authorized his former deputy to leak the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson.In a June 3 letter sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Rep. Henry Waxman, Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, called on the Justice Department to release transcripts of interviews that Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald conducted with President George W. Bush and Cheney about the leak of Plame's identity.

Waxman said the Justice Department has turned over to his committee redacted transcripts of interviews that federal investigators conducted with former White House political adviser Karl Rove and Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

According to those transcripts, Libby told federal investigators that Cheney may have told him to leak Plame's association with the CIA to reporters, Waxman said in the letter to Mukasey. 

"In his interview with the FBI, Mr. Libby stated that it was 'possible' that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador [Joseph] Wilson's wife to the press. This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter. It cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the Vice President's FBI interview," Waxman wrote.

Waxman's office would not release copies of the Libby-Rove transcripts or describe the contents in any detail. Fitzgerald's investigative interviews with Bush and Cheney -- asking how much knowledge the President and Vice President had about the Plame leak -- have not been disclosed.

The scandal revolves around actions taken in June and July of 2003 when Rove, Libby and other administration officials leaked information to reporters aimed at discrediting Ambassador Wilson, who had challenged the truthfulness of Bush's pre-invasion claims that Iraq had purchased yellowcake uranium from Niger.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Bush authorized portions of a classified National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq's alleged WMD to be disseminated to select reporters as part of the anti-Wilson campaign. Cheney dispatched Libby on that mission.

However, it is still unknown whether Libby was authorized to pass on information about Plame's work at the CIA or whether he did that on his own. Other administration officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Rove, also served as sources for journalists on Plame's identity as a CIA officer.

- Advertisement -

Right-wing columnist Robert Novak blew Plame's cover on July 14, 2003, in an article suggesting that Plame had helped arrange her husband's trip to Africa as some kind of junket.

Wilson, a diplomat who had served in Iraq and Africa, was selected by the CIA's non-proliferation office, where Plame worked, to travel to Niger in early 2002 to examine the Iraq-yellowcake allegations. Wilson returned to the United States and reported to CIA officials that the claims appeared to have no merit, a finding that matched with inquiries from other U.S. officials.

Nevertheless, in January 2003, seeking to dramatize the need for invading Iraq, President Bush cited the Niger claims in his State of the Union speech. That set the stage for Wilson to begin criticizing the misuse of this intelligence. Initially, Wilson avoided giving all the details about his role but finally went fully public in a New York Times op-ed on July 6, 2003.

That, in turn, prompted an intensified White House campaign against Wilson leading to Novak's article. With Plame's cover blown and her spy network endangered, the CIA sought a criminal investigation into the leak.

Knowing Nothing

As the probe got underway In September 2003, Bush professed to know nothing about the controversy and publicly called on anyone with information to step forward. At the time, however, he was withholding the fact that he had authorized declassification of some secrets about the Niger uranium issue and had ordered Cheney to arrange for those secrets to be given to reporters to undermine Wilson's criticism.

- Advertisement -

In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the anti-Wilson scheme got started – since he was involved in starting it – he uttered misleading public statements to conceal the White House role. That was followed by denials of involvement from Rove and Libby – issued through then-White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

Fitzgerald indicted Libby in October 2005 on five counts of perjury and obstruction of justice. In October 2005, I first reported that Fitzgerald also was investigating whether Cheney played a role in the leak. I reported, too, that Bush and Cheney discussed Plame prior to the leak, undercutting Bush's claims some three months later that he was unaware of nuances of the case.

In February 2007, during closing arguments at Libby's trial, defense attorney Theodore Wells told jurors that the prosecutors had been attempting to build a case of conspiracy against the Vice President and Libby, and that the prosecutors believed Libby may have lied to federal investigators and to a grand jury to protect Cheney.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CIA Watchdog Report Says Detainees Died During Interrogations

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf

Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Cheney Pressured DOJ to Approve Torture

Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire

Newly Declassified DOD Documents Reveal Detainees Tortured To Death

Voter Registration Group ACORN Long a Target of GOP Operatives