View Full Version : Libby Trial Evidence Depicts Cheney As Orchestrating Tactics

01-26-2007, 09:33 AM
Libby trial evidence depicts Cheney as orchestrating tactics

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/01/26/libby_trial_evidence_depicts_cheney_as_orchestrati ng_tactics/

By Carol D. Leonnig and Amy Goldstein, Washington Post | January 26, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney orchestrated his office's 2003 efforts to rebut assertions that the administration used flawed intelligence to justify the war in Iraq and discredit a critic who he believed was making him look foolish, according to testimony and evidence yesterday in the criminal trial of his former chief of staff.

Cheney dictated talking points for a White House briefing in the midst of the controversy that summer, his former press aide, Cathie Martin, testified, stressing that the CIA never told him that a CIA-sponsored mission had found no real evidence that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa.

Aboard Air Force 2, on a trip back from the launch of a battleship in Norfolk, Va., Cheney instructed his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, about responding to a Time magazine reporter who questioned how the faulty intelligence on Iraq had become one of the Bush administration's central arguments for going to war.

In the dramatic replay of events that summer that unfolded yesterday in Libby's federal court trial, Cheney was portrayed as a general on a political battlefield -- enmeshed in tactics, but also deputizing his chief of staff to handle the dirty job of convincing journalists that his war critic was all wrong.

Previously described in court filings and by the media, Cheney's role was brought to life yesterday by Martin's account. She is the first witness in the case who worked closely with Cheney and Libby as they tried to refute former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was sent to Niger by the CIA to determine whether Iraq had sought uranium for a weapons program.

Her testimony was buttressed by previously unreleased documents provided as evidence yesterday, including handwritten notes and margin scribblings Cheney's staff members hastily jotted at their boss's instruction.

Lea Anne McBride, Cheney's current spokes woman, said last evening that the vice president's office could not comment on the case or evidence introduced in the trial.

Libby, 56, is charged with lying to investigators and a grand jury about how the identity of Wilson's wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, was leaked to the media days after Wilson went public with his claims that the administration had twisted his findings to justify the war in Iraq.

Libby has pleaded not guilty, contending he misspoke and forgot about conversations he had with journalists amid the crush of his duties. He is not charged with the leak itself.

Martin recalled telling Cheney and Libby information from CIA spokesman William Harlow that Wilson was the person sent to Niger "and his wife works for the CIA." Martin is the fourth witness from the administration to contest Libby's contention that he learned Plame Wilson's name from NBC's Tim Russert.

Also yesterday, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald told the judge he was concerned that Libby's defense team was trying to improperly introduce elements of its "bad memory" defense without putting Libby on the stand, by questioning each witness about details no reasonable person could remember.

01-26-2007, 07:02 PM
Looks like Libby won't be getting a pardon.