Reviewing Cheney

The two topics tonight around the blogosphere seem to be Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. As to Cheney:

There have been questions raised about whether Dick Cheney was under oath when he was interviewed by Fitzgerald. The New York Times reported on June 5, 2004 (as TChris noted here) that he was not:

It is not clear when or where Mr. Cheney was interviewed, but he was not questioned under oath and he has not been asked to appear before the grand jury, people officially informed about the case said.

That is unlikely to make a difference. As I noted in the comments over at Firedoglake yesterday:

I don't think the oath matters. If he wasn't under oath, it's a false statement charge. If he was, it's a perjury charge. But both have the same penalty - 5 years.

.... Also, a putative defendant may be able to cure a perjurious statement before the grand jury by going back and 'fessing up, if it was not particularly material to the crime, as Rove may have done with his Matthew Cooper conversation, but that option does not appear in the false statement statute.

In going through TalkLeft's archives, I noticed a curious piece of timing: George Tenet resigned the day after the press reported that Bush had sought private legal advice regarding the probe.

As to whether Cheney lied to the American people when he said on Meet the Press that he didn't know Wilson or who sent him to Niger, I think Cheney is splitting hairs. While Joseph Wilson agrees the two have never met in person, it's pretty inconceivable Cheney didn't know of Wilson from the days when Dick Cheney was Defense Secretary under former President Bush during Gulf War I and Joseph Wilson was charge d'affaires in Baghdad.

On a related note, Vanity Fair reported (Jan. 2004):

After Wilson returned to America, a C.I.A. reports officer visited him at home and later debriefed him. Since Wilson's trip had been made because of Cheney's office's request, he assumed that the vice president had received at least a phone call about his findings. "There would have been a very specific answer provided ... to the very specific question that he asked," Wilson says. (The vice president's office denies that Cheney heard back from the C.I.A. or knew about Wilson's trip until he read about it in the newspaper many months later. Tenet confirmed the trip was made on the C.I.A.'s "own initiative." ) (emphasis supplied.)

Was Cheney's office referring to Walter Pincus' June 12, 2003 article, Nicholas Kristof's May, 2003 article, or Joe Wilson's July 6, 2003 op-ed? If Libby's notes are correct that he and Cheney discussed Wilson's wife employment at the CIA and Wilson's trip to Africa on June 12, 2003, it can't be Wilson's op-ed.

In the end, I think Cheney gets a pass. He probably told Fitzgerald back in June, 2004 when he was interviewed that he learned of Wilson's trip in June, 2003 after reading about Wilson either in Kristof's or Pincus's column and then ordered up more information. Maybe that's how the June 10 memo came about - which also mentioned Valerie Wilson by her married name, not as Valerie Plame. The memo was ordered up by State Department official Marc Grossman, reportedly in preparation for a meeting at the White House. This is the memo that was sent to Colin Powell on Air Force One on July 7, 2003.

Fitzgerald probably has had Lewis Libby's notes of his June 12 meeting with Cheney all along.

But, if Joseph Wilson is correct that Libby and the White House Iraq Group began investigating him back in March, 2003, then Libby (and perhaps Cheney) has a problem. It was before any reporters wrote about Wilson, so Libby could not have learned it from a reporter. Cheney or Libby could, however, have learned it from Wilson's March, 2003 CNN appearance (same link.)

< Report: Fitzgerald Visited Rove's Lawyer Today | How Karl Rove Could Walk >
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    Re: Reviewing Cheney (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:24 PM EST
    Millers Terror Articles in March: March 27, 2003 A NATION AT WAR: IN THE FIELD | WEAPONS; U.S. Hunts for Bio-Agents And Gas at an Iraq Depot March 24, 2003 A NATION AT WAR: WITH THE TROOPS | CHEMICAL BIOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE SUPPORT TEAM; Lab Technicians Eagerly Await Work March 19, 2003  THREATS AND RESPONSES: DISARMING SADDAM HUSSEIN; TEAMS OF EXPERTS TO HUNT IRAQ ARMS links More scary articles through april May 6 Kristof article May 7 Miller article
    wound up unearthing a trove of Iraqi intelligence documents and maps relating to Israel as well as offers of sales of uranium and other nuclear material to Iraq.
    May 8 ... By JUDITH MILLER AFTEREFFECTS: ILLICIT ARMS; U.S. Aides Say Iraqi Truck Could Be a Germ-War Lab link Seems like WHIG was working overtime. I would be surprised if Cheney did not start a workup on Wilson in March after hearing him on CNN. Which would mean Cheney is in trouble. Bush's Lawyer must have advised that Tennet had to resign. Curious that Tenet was not called in to testify, although he was interviewed by Fitzgerald and his staff. Is this AP article just repeating from the NYT? Or does this confirm it?
    Fitzgerald questioned Cheney under oath more than a year ago, but it is not known what the vice president told the prosecutor.

    Re: Reviewing Cheney (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:24 PM EST
    There have been questions raised about whether Dick Cheney was under oath when he was interviewed by Fitzgerald. The Vice Presidents Oath of Office:
    "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same: that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
    The Vice President takes an oath of office administered before the President's. I, and probably most people, take this to be an oath of conscience, an oath of humanity, and yes, even an oath of morality, if not an oath of legality in the particular instance and context of Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation, and I, along with many people, am deeply offended by the actions of this vice president, this president, and this administration. And before our local trolls start, any parsing of the word evasion in this oath, or of it's meaning, or the meaning of this oath, changes nothing. It is an oath taken, and given to the people of the country, who are the employers of the oath taker.