Cheney Interview Materials

I guess there ARE limits to which Obama won’t stoop to protect Dick Cheney. As I predicted, DOJ released his interview materials. Here they are:

Seeing as how I just walked in the door, I’ll be reading them along with you. I’ll update with my thoughts.

Interesting: Cheney was consulting with Addington, not O’Donnell during this interview.

He claims, incorrectly, that he first became aware of the Niger allegations from the CIA. That may not be correct–there are other indications he first learned in a DIA briefing, and then brought it up to the CIA.

They cite a meeting between Cheney, Tenet, and the CPD head on June 10, 2003. That may be how Jon Kiriakou got an order to look into this trip, reflected in an email written on the same date.

Most important: This confirms (page 6) that Cheney ascribed his knowledge of Plame’s ID to Tenet, presumably in the secure line conversation he had with Tenet.

Interesting. They were asking him his about his notations about Mayaki–which is the content of Bob Novak’s column that remains unexplained.

Cheney was spouting his own talking points back to Fitz.

Interesting. He was asked about cables relating to the trip. This is how I have speculated he found out about Plame, and he was repeating talking points from it (the talking points showed up in Novak’s column and Judy’s notes).

Cheney’s pretending he didn’t set it up so that Cathie Martin would learn about Plame. That’s a lie.

WOW. Libby reminded Cheney he first learned of Plame from him. They worked out a cover story together. But when asked about it, Cheney claimed he had never spoken about Plame until after Novak’s column. That is an amazing lie.

If I were Scooter Libby and saw how Dick sold him out, I’d start talking right now.

Cheney refused to sign a waiver of journalists he had spoken with!!!

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

45 replies
  1. JasonLeopold says:

    just starting to read. But, if you haven’t seen it already, Shuster just tweeted this:

    @DavidShuster: After reading the Cheney interview, I’m flabbergasted Fitzgerald didn’t indict him. Cheney’s statements are shocking.

  2. JasonLeopold says:

    p. 27

    “the vice president cannot specifically recall having a conversation with Scooter Libby during which libby advised the vice president that he wanted to share the key judgments of the NIE with judith miller”

  3. JasonLeopold says:

    lots of “i can’t recalls” here regarding that NIE. But on page 27 Cheney would not say whether he advised libby whether Bush told him to declassify the NIE

  4. MadDog says:

    …As I predicted, DOJ released his interview materials…

    As we both predicted.

    And if I remember correctly, there were a bunch of folks here who insisted that the DOJ would appeal before they’d ever release them.

    So EW, do you think we’ll be able to collect?

    If I again remember correctly, the bet was for a nickel…though a hubcap will do just fine. *g*

  5. MadDog says:

    Cheney refused to sign a waiver of journalists he had spoken with!!!

    That, after having repeatedly told Fitzgerald and the FBI interviewers that “he doesn’t speak to journalists”.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Journalistic ethics may be as much of a contradiction in terms as legal ethics, but I don’t think that the rule about protecting one’s sources applies to aiding and abetting a public employee in the commission of a felony. I could be wrong.

  7. flounder says:

    I get a kick out of this:
    “Cheney also noted that he thought it was strange that Wilson did his investigative work pro bono.”
    Everything’s gotta be pimpin’ and hustlin’ with Cheney!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      In CheneyWorld, the implication is that doing work pro bono means whoever is doing it doesn’t know what he’s doing. For Big Dick, the more you charge, the more testosterone you have, irrespective of expertise. He would be like those attorneys whose motto is, “If the client doesn’t scream about the bill, you didn’t charge enough”.

      He’s also engaging in routine personality assassination. In DC, expertise or access – or its appearance – is all there is. This comment is of a piece with Dick’s disdainful comment suggesting that Joe Wilson was so unmanly, his wife had to get him work. (I guess it’s manly when you’re wife or your pappy helps you avoid the draft.)

  8. MadDog says:

    I’m guessing the redacted parts of paragraph 3 on page 14 regarding a news media organization that always gave Cheney unfavorable coverage are meant to hide the name “New York Times” and a particular former NYT reporter “Judy Miller”.

    Any disagreement?

    And I wonder why it is redacted?

      • MadDog says:

        And he couldn’t help himself to get in a dig about not receiving it on time in Wyoming.

        Poor guy is always getting his panties in a twist. *g*

          • kindGSL says:

            That is called ‘maintaining deniability’ and when you see it in a pattern (like w/ Cheney) it strongly indicates they are covering things up.

  9. JasonLeopold says:

    cheney said it was possible he discussed the “wilsons” with eric edelman, ambassador to Turkey, and maybe white house staffers Neil Patel and Dan McGrath but he can’t recall bigger names like Bush, Libby, etc.

    but he said it was possible he discussed the Wilsons with John Hannah

  10. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Preliminary questions:

    —————
    p 4, The [VP] has no recollection of reading or hearing about a Kristof article published 6/13/03 about the ex-envoy’s trip, nor does he recall and article about it in the New Republic magazine dated 6/19/03….

    The Leak Timeline in “Anatomy of Deceit”, puts Kristof’s article on May 6, 2003 (p. 137). I don’t see a listing for a second Kristof article — am I missing one?

    On p. 7, the first paragraph mentions asking Cheney about documents related to [Wilson’s trip] faxed to the OVP’s office by John Hannah on 6/9/03.

    In other words, either there is a reference to a second Kristof article missing from my version of the Leak Timeline, or else there’s something funky that I’m missing.

    It appears that John Hannah was filling in blanks as to Plame-Wilson’s identities at a time when Cheney claims that he wasn’t interested at all in the matter, that he couldn’t figure out why ‘an envoy’*** would go check out the Niger yellowcake story ‘pro bono’, and continues to refer to Wilson in demeaning terms.

    And didn’t John Hannah report to Doug Feith?
    Or did he report to Hadley?

    *** an ‘envoy’ who just happened to be the former US Amb to Iraq during Gulf One, but hey, why dig into niggling details, eh?

    —————————

    Cheney sure insists on marginalizing Joe Wilson, starting off by referring to him as:
    ‘an unnamed ex-envoy who had traveled to Niger to investigate intelligence reports that teh …

    ——————————-

    So far, this is my favorite little new nugget:

    p. 11 [U] – [Cheney] …has no recollection of Cathie Martin entering his office at some point while Scooter Libby was present and advising them both that Joesph Wilson’s wife was employed by the CIA…

    NO recollection?!
    You’re in a war, a war you based on claims of WMD.
    There are no WMD.
    Along comes ‘an envoy’ (inconveniently, an ‘envoy’ who knows something about Iraq, Africa, and Saddam) who states publicly that there are no WMD, there never were WMD, and you were lying about WMD.

    So what to do?
    All I can conclude is that if you are Dick Cheney, you lie to the FBI.
    At least, that’s my preliminary conclusion.

    I don’t see any other way to read this thing.

  11. JThomason says:
    Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he told Cheney shortly after the CIA leak probe became public that even if he, Libby, had told reporters that Plame worked for the CIA, he was only repeating unsubstantiated gossip that he had heard from NBC’s Russert on July 10, 2003. But notes of Libby’s entered into evidence during his trial indicate that Libby learned that Plame was a CIA officer from Cheney during a June 12, 2003 telephone conversation, almost a month before Libby spoke with Russert. In addition, a senior aide to Cheney testified during Libby’s trial that, after learning herself from a senior CIA official that Plame worked for the CIA, she shared that information with both Cheney and Libby during a meeting she had with both men. And Cheney himself told the special prosecutor that he regularly shared any information he learned about Plame with Libby as well, according to people familiar with Cheney’s interview with the special prosecutor.

    Notwithstanding this, Libby later told very much the very same story he told Cheney during two FBI interviews in the fall of 2003 and later during two appearances before the federal grand jury hearing evidence in the CIA leak case on March 5, 2004 and March, 24, 2004.

    Libby’s assertion that the information came from Russert and was only gossip was central to his claims that he did nothing wrong because if he instead had learned the information from government officials he might be in trouble for leaking classified information.

    At Libby’s trial, several government witnesses — among them an under secretary of State, a senior CIA official, Libby’s CIA briefing officer, and a senior aide to Cheney — said they informed Libby that Plame was a CIA officer.

    Testifying as a prosecution witness, Russert said that although he and Libby did indeed speak on July 10, 2003, they never discussed Plame during their conversation.

    The Libby-Cheney Connection, Murray Waas, National Journal, February 19, 2007.

    Edited for date. Not sure why the paragraph structure fell apart.

    • JThomason says:

      And Cheney himself told the special prosecutor that he regularly shared any information he learned about Plame with Libby as well, according to people familiar with Cheney’s interview with the special prosecutor.

      Could this source be Cheney’s lawyers banking on a hope that the interview materials are never released?

  12. person1597 says:

    Hi, my name is DickTater and I’m addicted to Pixie Dust…

    He also noted that the Vice President Himself has declassification authority which commonly occurs when two different agencies cannot agree on the declassification of certain matters and the Vice President, in essence, referees the dispute.

    Pixie Brain:
    A Pixie duster whose fourth branch overreaching has caused such brain damage that he or she can no longer function in society and has to be institutionalized.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It’s worth repeating that the Vice President has no inherent authority and little statutory authority to do anything. His authority to classify or declassify would ordinarily come from that delegated to him by the President.

      Ordinarily, the president is the more talented official and more guarded about protecting his authority and control. In this case, I’d say it’s a toss up. Cheney knew what he wanted and how to get it, whereas Shrub, who held all the cards, was happy to let Dick deal and tell him what he had and whether it was a winning hand.

      • person1597 says:

        Absolutely…

        It’s worth repeating that the Vice President has no inherent authority and little statutory authority to do anything.

        Let the snowball roll!! (That sound — it grows louder…)

        Cheney knew what he wanted and how to get it, whereas Shrub, who held all the cards, was happy to let Dick deal and tell him what he had and whether it was a winning hand.

        Ooh, and what those mystical patterns meant…!

        (mockmockmockmockmock…whoosh…mockmockmockmoc…)

  13. MadDog says:

    Just to help folks out on the redacted parts, here is a resource defining each one of the FOIA exemptions:

    FOIA Exemptions

    As you can see on the redacted parts of paragraph 3 on page 14 of the Cheney Interview Summary (28 page PDF), the redactions are claimed exempt from FOIA due to b6 and 7(c).

    Those exemptions are as follows:

    (b)(6) EXEMPTION 6 Personal Information Affecting an Individual’s Privacy. This exemption permits the government to withhold all information about individuals in “personnel and medical files and similar files” when the disclosure of such information ” would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” This exemption cannot be invoked to withhold from a requester information pertaining to the requester.

    and

    (b) (7) EXEMPTION 7(C) Personal Information in Law Enforcement Records. This exemption provides protection for personal information in law enforcement records. This exemption is the law enforcement counterpart to Exemption 6, providing protection for law enforcement information the disclosure of which “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

  14. JasonLeopold says:

    How about Cheney’s little dig about Paul O’Neill on P. 13.
    Cheney gave a post-election interview to Novak cause Novak predicted, “correctly in hindsight that the administration was making a mistake in naming Paul O’Neill Sec. of the Treasury.”

    O’Neill, of course, is also the one who said Iraq was discussed before 9/11

  15. person1597 says:

    E.O. 13292

    (l) “Declassification authority” means:

    (1) the official who authorized the original classification, if that official is still serving in the same position;

    (2) the originators current successor in function;

    (3) a supervisory official of either; or

    (4) officials delegated declassification authority in writing by the agency head or the senior agency official.

    Did Bush delegate “declassification authority” to Cheney in writing? If not, why not? (He was told he could only use A #2 PENCIL.)(…and all he had were crayons…)

  16. MrWhy says:

    Contest: the seven words EW is not allowed to say on TV. E.g.

    Pig Missile
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick
    time line
    blow job
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch

      • kindGSL says:

        Another one to add to that list is, “Fool me once, don’t get fooled again.” I think that is a thinly veiled death/torture threat.

  17. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick
    time line
    blow job “I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch

  18. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick
    time line
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

  19. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick Chuck Norris has to have a concealed weapon license in all 50 states in order to legally wear pants.
    time line
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

  20. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick Chuck Norris has to have a concealed weapon license in all 50 states in order to legally wear pants.
    time line “I have no memory of this.”
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

  21. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile “The President listens to his Commanders on the economy.”
    Pixie Dust
    Papa Dick Chuck Norris has to have a concealed weapon license in all 50 states in order to legally wear pants.
    time line “I have no memory of this.”
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

  22. timbo says:

    I agree. It appears that Cheney was protecting his own keister with the interview.

    Another observation is that it appears that there are areas where an argument could be made that claims of “executive privilege” were used to cover up possible leak avenues from becoming apparent to Fitzgerald. Fortunately, the eventual realization (I realized that at the time of the investigation) that Armitage, fortunate for the conspirators, is that he provided a non-privileged explanation of who had leaked the information to the press. The thing is…we still don’t have proof positive that the entire leadership of the executive was involved in breaking the law in this case…due to “executive privilege concerns”.

  23. timbo says:

    Oh, and can you post a link that reviews the correlation between the torture regime and the false information to gin up the war…and how that proceeded through all of 2001-2004? That is of special interest in this case, as I know you know, since the reason the WMD question was of concern to the administration was because of their paranoia about investigations discovering the torture regime by the 3rd branch.

  24. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile “The President listens to his Commanders on the economy.”
    Pixie Dust “He is to the vice president what the vice president is to the president.”
    Papa Dick Chuck Norris has to have a concealed weapon license in all 50 states in order to legally wear pants.
    time line “I have no memory of this.”
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

  25. person1597 says:

    Pig Missile “The President listens to his Commanders on the economy.”
    Pixie Dust “He is to the vice president what the vice president is to the president.”
    Papa Dick Chuck Norris has to have a concealed weapon license in all 50 states in order to legally wear pants.
    time line “I have no memory of this.”
    blow job“I took an oath to the President…and I take that oath very seriously….
    Scottish Haggis “Ignorant elf, aip, owll irregular, Skaldit skaitbird, and common skamelar;”
    Fourth Branch “And I want to know who the leakers are.”

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