By: E&P Staff
Vice President Dick Cheney on July 12, 2003, directed Lewis ‘Scooter” Libby, his chief of staff, to leak to reporters portions of a then-highly classified CIA report, according to Libby’s grand jury testimony in the Plame case and sources who have read the classified report, the National Journal reported on its Web site Friday afternoon. Cheney hoped this would undermine the credibility of former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, Murray Waas writes.
Waas has uncovered a string of “scoops” in the CIA leak case in the past several weeks.
The March 2002 intelligence report was a debriefing of Wilson by the CIA’s Directorate of Operations after Wilson returned from his now-famous mission to Niger. “The debriefing report,” Waas explains., “made no mention of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, then a covert CIA officer, or any role she may have played in her husband’s selection by the CIA to go to Niger, according to two people who have read the report.
“The previously unreported grand jury testimony is significant because only hours after Cheney reportedly instructed Libby to disclose information from the CIA report, Libby divulged to then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper that Plame was a CIA officer, and that she been involved in selecting her husband for the Niger mission.”
The disclosure that Cheney instructed Libby to leak portions of a classified CIA report on Joseph Wilson “adds to a growing body of information showing that at the time Plame was outed as a covert CIA officer the vice president was deeply involved in the White House effort to undermine her husband.”
A spokesman for the vice president declined to comment.
Waas points out that July 12, 2003, on the same day that Libby spoke to both Cooper and Miller, “Libby and Cheney traveled aboard Air Force Two for the dedication of a new aircraft carrier in Norfolk, Va. During the flight either to or from Norfolk, Cheney, Libby, and Cathie Martin, then-assistant to the vice president for public affairs, discussed how they might rebut Wilson’s charges and discredit him, according to federal court records, and interviews with people with first-hand knowledge of accounts that all three provided to federal investigators.
“It has long been known that Cheney was among the first people in the government to tell Libby that Plame worked for the CIA. The federal indictment of Libby — who has been charged with five counts of obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators in the CIA leak case — states: ‘On or about June 12, 2003, Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson’s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division. Libby understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.'”
The entire National Journal article can be found here.