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CIA leak filing indicates gov't has evidence regarding Cheney

John Byrne
Published: Thursday May 25, 2006

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WASHINGTON -- The latest filing by Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald in the CIA leak investigation indicates the prosecutor possesses "evidence" about communication between Vice President Dick Cheney and his former chief of staff who was indicted in connection with the ongoing investigation into the outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.

RAW STORY has found an all-but-unnoticed sentence in the filing released by Fitzgerald late Wednesday. In his filing, Fitzgerald says testimony by "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's erstwhile chief of staff, "corroborate the government's other evidence indicating that these issues were communicated to defendant by his immediate superior, who also directed defendant during the critical week after July 6 to get into the public "all" the facts in response to the Wilson Op Ed."

It's possible that Fitzgerald's "other evidence" is a reference to Libby's grand jury testimony, which he included as part of his filing Wednesday. But the reference comes at the end of a paragraph also referencing Libby's testimony, and the prosecutor's careful language states "other evidence" rather than "defendant's testimony," as he asserts earlier in the paragraph.

"Defendant's testimony discussed above makes clear that defendant talked to the Vice President multiple times about the Wilson Op Ed and that, during one or more of these conversations, the Vice President discussed with defendant issues noted in the Vice President's handwritten annotations -- including the issue of Mr. Wilson's wife's employment at the CIA," Fitzgerald writes. "Therefore, the annotations corroborate the government's other evidence indicating that these issues were communicated to defendant by his immediate superior, who also directed defendant during the critical week after July 6 to get into the public "all" the facts in response to the Wilson Op Ed."

The investigation was mounted to determine whether or not Administration officials may have illegally outed a covert CIA operative, but has of late turned to the "cover-up" instead of the actual outing. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald indicted Libby not on leaking the agent's name but for lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice. Senior presidential adviser Karl Rove is also under scrutiny for allegedly misleading the FBI in his interviews about the outing.

The 'Wilson Op Ed' was a piece written by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson in the New York Times which questioned some of the Administration's key arguments for war with Iraq. Wilson, who had traveled to Niger to investigate claims that the African country had sold 'yellowcake' uranium to Iraq, said that he found nothing to support the claim. Documents alleging Iraq had sought uranium from Niger were found to be forgeries.

After the filing yesterday, many news organizations, including the Washington Post, centered around the fact Fitzgerald had not ruled out the possibility Cheney could be called to trial. But overlooked by these reports are repeated references to orders by Cheney to Libby to "get out into the public 'all' the facts in response to the Wilson Op Ed."

The Fitzgerald filing repeatedly argues that Libby's assertion that he didn't know about the Vice President's aims with the Wilson Op Ed are spurious based on other evidence Fitzgerald has collected in the case.

"The Vice President was the defendant's immediate superior with whom the defendant worked daily and closely, and from whom defendant received direction regarding the response to be made to the Wilson Op Ed," Fitzgerald says on page seven of his May 24 filing.

Such statements by the prosecutor made without specifics signal the prosecutor possesses evidence relating to the Vice President that counters Libby's testimony.

Fitzgerald has not indicated that Cheney is a target of his investigation, and Libby has denied that Cheney authorized the outing of CIA officer Valerie Wilson. But the latest filing is the strongest made to date by Fitzgerald regarding the Vice President's role.

READ THE FULL FITZGERALD FILING HERE

READ LIBBY'S TESTIMONY HERE