Most reactions to the release of Dick Cheney’s 2004 interview with FBI investigators on the Valerie Plame affair have focused on the numerous instances in which the then-vice president claimed a faulty memory about events that had occurred less than a year before.
But did Cheney at one point all but lie under oath about whether he directed Lewis Libby to give Judith Miller information from a government report on Saddam’s alleged efforts to procure uranium from Africa?
As the New York Times notes, Cheney said in the interview that “no one ever told him of a desire to share key judgments” of the report, which was classified.
But Libby had testified in March 2004 that Cheney thought it was “very important” to get out the information in the report, and said: “[T]he vice president instructed me to go talk to Judy Miller to lay this out for her.”
And Marcy Wheeler at Firedoglake adds that Cheney press aide Cathie Martin has corroborated Libby’s account, testifying that the veep directed Libby to work with journalists that week in disseminating the NIE.
So could Cheney be hiding here behind the legalistic distinction that no one ever told him of a desire to leak the information in the report, because that desire was his own, and therefore he wasn’t told of it by anyone else? If so, it’s fair to conclude that Cheney badly misled law enforcement.
Given the time that’s passed, and the fact that Cheney isn’t exactly known for his honesty and trustworthiness It’s tempting to dismiss that news as dog bites man. But it’s worth remembering, every now and then, that we’re talking about the man who was perhaps the most powerful person in the world for eight years.