Cheney, CIA and strategic deception techniques
Leopold takes a look at White
House lying techniques with particular reference to Vice-President Dick Cheney
That’s one of the questions Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is likely trying to figure out. It’s unclear what Cheney said to investigators back in 2004 when he was questioned—not under oath—about the leak, particularly what he knew and when he knew it.
The five-count criminal indictment handed up by a grand jury last month against Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, sheds new light on a pattern of strategic deception by the Vice President and the White House to defuse an inquiry into who leaked the name of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson to the press. Months after Plame’s identity was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak, Cheney continued to hide the fact that he and his aides were intimately involved in disseminating classified information about her to journalists.
What the Vice President denied knowing
The indictment against Cheney’s Chief of Staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, clearly states that Cheney and Libby discussed Plame’s undercover CIA status and the fact that her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, traveled to Niger to investigate claims that Iraq tried to acquire yellowcake uranium from the African country in early June of 2003.
Yet the following month, Cheney and then-White House press secretary Ari
that the vice
president was unaware of
We now know, courtesy
of the 22-page Libby indictment, that Cheney wasn’t being truthful. Cheney did
see the report; he knew full well who
campaign and that of other White House officials to discredit
During the interview,
Cheney maintained that he didn’t know
“I don’t know Joe
Wilson,” Cheney said, in response to Russert who quoted
“The CIA did,” Russert said, interjecting.
“Who at the CIA? I don’t know,” Cheney said. “He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.”
What happened once
Cheney received information on Plame and
Fitzgerald has eyed Cheney in seeking to ascertain who ordered the leak, as previously reported. While the Vice President stands accused of no wrongdoing, his role may come into greater focus during a trial.
with the syndicated radio program “Democracy Now,”
“While we've never
met, he certainly knows who I am and should know unless his memory is flawed and
The Vice President
certainly must have known
White House suggested investigation was waste of time
In hindsight, it now seems that the White House, including President Bush, attempted to steer reporters away from covering the Plame leak by saying the “leaker” would never be found.
On October 7, 2003, Bush and his spokesman, Scott McClellan, said that the White House ruled out three administration officials—Rove, Libby and Elliot Abrams, a senior official on the National Security Council, as sources of the leak—a day before FBI questioned the three of them, based on questions McClellan said he asked the men.
The very next day, however, Rove was questioned by FBI investigators and said that he spoke to journalists about Plame for the first time after Novak’s column was published—a lie, it appears based on Time reporter Matthew Cooper’s emails which stated that Rove told Cooper about Plame.
Bush told reporters the same day he doubted that a Justice Department investigation would ever turn up the source of the leak, suggesting that it was a waste of time for lawmakers to question the administration and for reporters to follow up on the story.
"I mean this is a town full of people who like to leak information," Bush said. "And I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official. Now, this is a large administration, and there's lots of senior officials. I don't have any idea.”
Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) responded to the president’s statement in the New York Times.
“If the president
says, 'I don't know if we're going to find this person,' what kind of a
statement is that for the president of the
Facing a deadline on turning over documents, emails and phone logs to Justice Department officials, Bush said that the White House could invoke executive privilege and withhold some “sensitive” documents related to the leak case. Democrats speculated that the White House had something to hide.
Classified leak or truthful rebuttal?
Unable to keep emails from investigators, the White House mounted a defense. They would seek to distinguish between “unauthorized leaks” and something perfectly legal: “setting the record straight.”
On Oct. 6, 2003, in
response to questions about whether Rove was Novak’s source, McClellan tried to
explain the difference between unauthorized disclosure of classified information
and "setting the record straight" about
“There is a difference between setting the record straight and doing something to punish someone for speaking out,” McClellan said.
statements made (by
Note: This article was first published by JUST Response on November 7 2005. Jason Leopold is the author of the explosive memoir, News Junkie, to be released in the spring of 2006 by Process/Feral House Books. Visit Leopold's website at www.jasonleopold.com for updates.