News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Grand Jury Looking at VP Cheney's Role in Plamegate

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Grand Jury Looking at VP Cheney's Role in Plamegate

According to this article, as I suggested several days ago, the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame is looking at VP Cheney's role. According to inside sources, says this article, special prosecutor Fitzgerald is seeking evidence that Cheney was in on meetings where the outing was dicussed and planned.

It appears that Plame's overseas CIA operation had already been shut down a year or so before--therefore, outing her may seem to be no big deal. However, the countererargument to this is that 1) outing her nevertheless is a felony 2) puts her contacts for the overseas operation in jeopardy 3) dissuades others others who might consider working with CIA from doing so and 4) places Plame's life in jeopardy because those who were fingered by her operation or their associates may seek retaliation--knowing her name basically gives them the ease of looking her name up in the phone book or perhaps sitting outside CIA headquarters and "taking her out."
Vice President's role in outing of CIA agent under examination, sources close to prosecutor say
Jason Leopold

Cheney's role in CIA outing not known

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine whether Vice President Dick Cheney had a role in the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, individuals close to Fitzgerald say. Plame’s husband was a vocal critic of prewar intelligence used by President George W. Bush to build support for the Iraq war.

The investigation into who leaked the officer's name to reporters has now turned toward a little known cabal of administration hawks known as the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG was founded by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card and operated out of the Vice President’s office.

Fitzgerald’s examination centers on a group of players charged with not only selling the war, but according to sources familiar with the case, to discredit anyone who openly “disagreed with the official Iraq war” story.

[b]The group’s members included Deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Bush advisor Karen Hughes, Senior Advisor to the Vice President Mary Matalin, Deputy Director of Communications James Wilkinson, Assistant to the President and Legislative Liaison Nicholas Calio, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby - Chief of Staff to the Vice President and co-author of the Administration's pre-emptive strike policy.[/b]

. . . . . . .

Cheney’s role under scrutiny

[b]Two officials close to Fitzgerald told RAW STORY they have seen documents obtained from the White House Iraq Group which state that Cheney was present at several of the group's meetings. They say Cheney personally discussed with individuals in attendance at least two interviews in May and June of 2003 Wilson gave to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus, in which he claimed the administration “twisted” prewar intelligence and what the response from the administration should be.[/b]

Cheney was interviewed by the FBI surrounding the leak in 2004. According to the New York Times, Cheney was asked whether he knew of any concerted effort by White House aides to name Ms. Wilson.

Sources close to the investigation have also confirmed that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine Vice President Cheney's role in the outing of Mrs. Wilson, more specifically, if Cheney ordered the leak.

Those close to Fitzgerald say they have yet to uncover any evidence that suggests Cheney ordered the leak or played a role in the outing of Mrs. Wilson. [b]Still, the sources said they are investigating claims that Cheney may have been involved based on his attendance at meetings of the Iraq group.[/b] Previous reports indicate Cheney was intimately involved with the framing of the Iraq war.

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal confirmed that the Iraq group was under scrutiny.

“Formed in August 2002, the group, which included Messrs. [Karl] Rove and [Lewis] Libby, worked on setting strategy for selling the war in Iraq to the public in the months leading up to the March 2003 invasion,” the Journal reported. “The group likely would have played a significant role in responding to [former Ambassador Joseph] Wilson's claims” that the Bush administration twisted intelligence when it said Iraq tried to acquire yellow-cake uranium from Africa.

Rove's "strategic communications" task force operating inside the group was instrumental in writing and coordinating speeches by senior Bush administration officials, highlighting in September 2002 that Iraq was a nuclear threat.

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