Mary pointed me to DOJ’s latest attempt to prevent CREW from accessing the materials relating to Cheney’s interview with Fitzgerald and the FBI. I’ll get into what a load of crap the DOJ argument is later. But first, I want to lay out what the FOIA declarations say about the Cheney interview itself.
First, the date. Rather than early June, as previously assumed, the CIA declaration included with this document reveals the documents were dated May 8, 2004–a month earlier in the investigation that we had known (and therefore a month and a half earlier than Bush’s interview).
Otherwise, the declarations reveal the following contents of the interview:
- Vice President’s discussion of the substance of a conversation he had with the Director of the CIA concerning the decision to send Ambassador Wilson on a fact-finding mission to Niger in 2002.
- Vice President’s discussion of his requests for information from the CIA relating to reported efforts by Iraqi officials to purchase uranium from Niger.
- Vice President’s recollection of the substance of his discussions with the National Security Advisor while she was on a trip to Africa.
- Vice President’s description of government deliberations, including discussions between the Vice President and the Deputy National Security Advisor, in preparation of a statement by the Director of CIA regarding the accuracy of a statement in the President’s 2003 State of the Union Address.
- Vice President’s recollection of discussions with Lewis Libby, the White House Communications Director, and the White House Chief of Staff regarding the appropriate response to media inquiries about the source of the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity as a CIA employee.
- Vice President’s description of his role in resolving disputes about whether to declassify certain information.
- Vice President’s description of government deliberations involving senior officials regarding whether to declassify portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.
- Description of a confidential conversation between the Vice President and the President, and description of an apparent communication between the Vice President and the President.
- Names of non-governmental third-parties and details of their extraneous interactions with the Vice President.
- Name of a CIA briefer.
- Names of FBI agents.
- Names of foreign government and liaison services.
- The name of a covert CIA employee.
- The methods CIA uses to assess and evaluate intelligence and inform policy makers.
Now, as I’ll get into when I discuss what a load of crap this is, almost every single bit of this was already revealed at trial. The single event we don’t know significant details of already is this:
Vice President’s recollection of the substance of his discussions with the National Security Advisor while she was on a trip to Africa.
Given the location of the discussion–it appears on the same page as the description of the Cheney-Libby-Hadley discussions on the Tenet statement–it probably pertains to the perceived understanding of Condi’s role in sticking the shiv in Tenet’s back–and/or her willingness or not to admit fault in sticking the uranium claim in the State of the Union. Also remember–Condi passed word through Hadley that Bush was "comfortable" with their plan (which may have included outing Plame).
Another interesting detail not introduced at trial: schedules released during the trial and a CIA document released after the trial show Cheney had a meeting with John McLaughlin during the week of June 9, 2003–when Cheney learned of Plame’s identity. But this seems to confirm that Cheney also had a conversation with Tenet that week (Libby claimed Cheney learned of Plame’s identity from Tenet, though I think Cheney learned of it from reading two memos Plame wrote wrt the trip).
The one other piece of information that would be very interesting would be the "names of non-governmental third-parties and details of their extraneous interactions with the Vice President." Otherwise known as "media," including (at a minimum) Andrea Mitchell, but also Bob Novak.
For some reason, Obama’s DOJ doesn’t want us to see these things. But considering what a ridiculous argument they’re making here–and the degree to which these things are already declassified–I’m guessing we get to see some of this.