By: E&P Staff
Murray Waas, writing in the National Journal, came up with several scoops in the Libby/CIA leak case last year. Today, he looks further back, suggesting that the roots of the case — and the later appointment of a special prosecutor — go back to articles in USA Today and The Washington Post on the same day in 2002, based on a leak related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The full article can be found at www.nationaljournal.com. Here is how it opens.
Early on the morning of June 20, 2002, then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham, D-Fla., received a telephone call at home from a highly agitated Dick Cheney. Graham, who was in the middle of shaving, held a razor in one hand as he took the phone in the other.
The vice president got right to the point: A story in his morning newspaper reported that telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency on September 10, 2001, apparently warned that Al Qaeda was about to launch a major attack against the United States, possibly the next day. But the intercepts were not translated until September12, 2001, the story said, the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Because someone had leaked the highly classified information from the NSA intercepts, Cheney warned Graham, the Bush administration was considering ending all cooperation with the joint inquiry by the Senate and House Intelligence committees on the government?s failure to predict and prevent the September 11 attacks. Classified records would no longer be turned over to the Hill, the vice president threatened, and administration witnesses would not be available for interviews or testimony.
Moreover, Graham recalled in an interview for this story, Cheney warned that unless the leaders of the Intelligence committees took action to discover who leaked the information about the intercepts?and more importantly, to make sure that such leaks never happened again?President Bush would directly make the case to the American people that Congress could not be trusted with vital national security secrets.
?Take control of the situation,? Graham recalls Cheney instructing him.
Graham told the vice president that he, too, was frustrated over the leaks. But his attempt to calm Cheney down was unsuccessful.
On that morning in June 2002, Cheney could not have known that his complaints to Graham about the leaking of classified information would help set events in motion that eventually would lead to the prosecution of his own chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, as the result of a separate leak investigation.