The FBI has released key documents related to former Vice President Dick Cheney's role in the 2003 scandal over the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. The documents, notes from a 2004 FBI interview with Cheney, shed new light on the nature of his involvement. Cheney's statements in the interview contradict the official testimony of his former chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was convicted of obstruction of justice for his role in the scandal.
The documents resurface questions that have persisted since 2003, when Valerie Plame Wilson's identity was leaked to news sources in what many have called retaliation for her husband's public push against invading Iraq. Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador, had published an op-ed insisting that Iraq had not sought nuclear materials in Africa, which was then a primary rationale for the White House's push to invade Iraq. As you'll see below, blogger Marcy Wheeler, who made her name reporting the original Plame scandal, is once again leading the way.
- Cheney's 'Near Total Amnesia' The official release by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the group that acquired the documents, expresses skepticism that Cheney would "forget" so much. "The transcript reveals that Mr. Cheney – generally credited with razor sharp intellect and recall – demonstrated an astonishing inability to recollect even simple facts much less the numerous conversations others have testified to regarding his involvement in the administration’s efforts to discredit former Ambassador Joe Wilson. Mr. Cheney’s memory frequently failed to improve, even when confronted with his own hand-written notes."
- Was Bush Involved? Marcy Wheeler notes some unusual chronology: The actions that later became the "Plame scandal" began almost immediately after a high-level White House meeting with President Bush. "It's just a mere five hours from Cheney and Rove’s conversation with Bush to Libby telling the White House Press Secretary that Plame was a CIA officer," she writes. "So Cheney and Libby asked Schmall (for at least the third time) about Wilson’s trip. Then Cheney went into a briefing, then meeting, with Bush, Condi, Card, and Rove. And then Rove went into the senior staff meeting talking about how they had to push back against Wilson. Cathie Martin wrote up some talking points reflecting Rove’s comments. And then Libby told Ari Fleischer about Plame's identity."