CIA leak probe looks at Cheney writings
Filing: VP's notes on newspaper help establish Libby's motive
A prosecutor says Vice President Dick Cheney made notes on a newspaper article written by Joseph Wilson.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Notes that Vice President Dick Cheney wrote on a newspaper article might help explain a motive in the perjury and obstruction case of Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, according to documents filed by the prosecutor in the case.
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating how former CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked to the media in 2003 after her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times criticizing the basis for the war in Iraq.
Wilson was sent to Africa to investigate claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein tried to buy a form of uranium in Niger. Upon his return, Wilson scribed an article for The New York Times headlined "What I Didn't Find in Africa," in which he questioned the White House assertion that Hussein tried to buy the material for use in nuclear weapons.
Cheney's copy of the July 6, 2003, op-ed piece is now "at the center of the sequence of events leading" to Libby's alleged criminal conduct, according to Fitzgerald's filing.
Columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame's identity in a column July 14, 2003, eight days after Wilson wrote his op-ed piece.
Libby was indicted in October 2005 on charges of obstruction of justice, making false statements and perjury. The indictment stemmed from statements Libby made to the FBI and before a grand jury about how he learned of Plame's CIA employment and what he told reporters about it.
Friday's filing includes a photocopy of the article with Cheney's notes written in the margins. According to the photocopy, Cheney scribbled four questions at the top of the page:
"Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"
The annotations support the notion that Wilson's op-ed piece drew the attention of Cheney and Libby, and "acutely focused" their attention on Wilson's assertions "and on responding to those assertions," the filing stated.
"The article, and the fact that it contained certain criticisms of the administration, including criticism regarding issues dealt with by the Office of the Vice President, serve both to explain the context of, and provide the motive for, many of the defendant's statements and actions at issue in this case," Fitzgerald's filing said.
"The annotated version of the article reflects the contemporaneous reaction of the Vice President to Mr. Wilson's Op Ed article, and thus is relevant to establishing some of the facts that were viewed as important by the defendant's immediate superior, including whether Mr. Wilson's wife had sent him on a junket."
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