Fitz Includes Cheney's Handwritten Notes on Wilson's Op-Ed in Court Filing

Is Dick Cheney the next "Official A"?

Late Friday, Patrick Fitzgerald filed a new pleading in the Scooter Libby case. Empty Wheel at Next Hurrah posts the pleading and analyzes the contents, including this exhibit, a copy of Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed with Cheney's handwritten notations.

In the notations, Cheney writes,

Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff's take is here.

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for Cheney's own notes to be made public. The notes--apparently obtained as a result of a grand jury subpoena--would appear to make Cheney an even more central witness than had been previously thought in the criminal probe.

....Fitzgerald first alleged that Cheney had questioned whether Wilson's trip was a "junket" in a court filing last month. In that filing, Fitzgerald also asserted that the vice president, acting with the approval of President Bush, had authorized Libby to disclose portions of the classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq to rebut some of Wilson's claims.

....Fitzgerald in his court filing indicated he plans to introduce a copy of Cheney's annotated version of the Wilson column to show the vice president's interest in the circumstances surrounding Wilson's trip was an important matter to Libby that week and explains many of his actions.

Here's another nuggat from the Friday filing: Fitz is going to introduce the Novak column outing Valerie Plame. Isikoff writes:

Fitzgerald said he will do so in order to introduce evidence about a series of conversations that he argued could undercut one of Libby's principal defenses: that he had no reason to believe Plame's employment was a sensitive matter and therefore had no reason to lie to the grand jury about when and with whom he spoke about it.

According to Fitzgerald's filing, on the day that the Novak column was published, a CIA official was asked in Libby's presence by another Cheney aide whether he had read the column. The CIA official had not. But shortly thereafter, the unidentified CIA official discussed in Libby's presence "the dangers posed by disclosure of the CIA affiliation of one of its employee as had occurred in the Novak column," Fitzgerald wrote.

....Fitzgerald asserts, "the evidence about the conversation concerning the Novak column provides a strong motive for the defendant to provide false information and testimony about his disclosures to reporters."

The May 5 Libby hearing transcript is still generating great analysis. Christy of Firedoglake weighs in here and here . Empty Wheel includes her thoughts in her post today about Cheney. Tom Maguire also has a detailed analysis.

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    Re: Fitz Includes Cheney's Handwritten Notes on Wi (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat May 13, 2006 at 02:28:00 PM EST
    A for #1 _______. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I like emptywheel's line (somewhat influenced by Jeralyn):
    If you were Bush, and you had a last ditch chance to save yourself by sacrificing either your brain or your wayward Dick, wouldn't you sacrifice the one that had caused you so much trouble in the first place?

    Re: Fitz Includes Cheney's Handwritten Notes on Wi (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Sat May 13, 2006 at 03:21:19 PM EST
    Interesting. No mention of Judy. They appear to pay a lot of attention to Sy Hersh (smart - he's one of the best), but it sounds like everyone in the office got a copy and marked it up. Were they leak-hunting for Sy's source(s)?

    Re: Fitz Includes Cheney's Handwritten Notes on Wi (none / 0) (#3)
    by roxtar on Sun May 14, 2006 at 02:32:24 AM EST
    Cheney was aware of Wilson's trip in June. His notes are not questions provoked by surprise; he's trying out talking points. It's the conception of the anti-Wilson smear campaign in Cheney's own handwriting. It's the smoking gun. It's Nixon's secret tape recordings.....