New revelations from former White House press secretary Scott McClellan have prompted House Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) to write to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, seeking documents concerning White House officials’ role in the outting of former CIA officer Valerie Plame. In particular, Waxman is seeking an unredacted transcript of Vice President Dick Cheney’s interview with the FBI concerning his possible role in the matter.
“It appears from the interview reports that Vice President Cheney personally may have been the source of the information that Ms. Wilson worked for the CIA,” Waxman writes. ” Mr. Libby specifically identified the Vice President as the source of his information about Ms. Wilson.”
“New revelations by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan raise additional questions about the actions of the President and the Vice President,” Waxman continues. “Mr. McClellan has stated that ‘[t]he President and Vice President directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby.’ He has also asserted that ‘the top White House officials who knew the truth — including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney — allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.’ It would be a major breach of trust if the Vice President personally directed Mr. McClellan to mislead the public.”
Below, excerpts from Waxman’s letter to Mukasey:
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
On December 3, 2007, I wrote to request that you arrange for the production of documents relating to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, including copies of FBI interview reports of White House officials. I appreciate that you have since made redacted versions of the interview reports of Karl Rove, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, and other senior White House officials available to the Committee.
I am writing now to renew the Committee’s request for the interview reports with President Bush and Vice President Cheney and to request unredacted versions of the interviews with Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Scott McClellan, and Cathie Martin. I also request that the Department provide all other responsive documents that were approved for release to the Committee by Mr. Fitzgerald.
In his interview with the FBI, Mr. Libby stated that it was “possible” that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador Wilson’s wife to the press. This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter. It cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the Vice President’s FBI interview.
The interviews with senior White House officials also raise other questions about the involvement of the Vice President. It appears from the interview reports that Vice President Cheney personally may have been the source of the information that Ms. Wilson worked for the CIA. Mr. Libby specifically identified the Vice President as the source of his information about Ms. Wilson. None of the other White House officials could remember how they learned this information.
New revelations by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan raise additional questions about the actions of the President and the Vice President. Mr. McClellan has stated that “[t]he President and Vice President directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby.” He has also asserted that “the top White House officials who knew the truth — including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President Cheney — allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.” It would be a major breach of trust if the Vice President personally directed Mr. McClellan to mislead the public.
In his FBI interview, Mr. McClellan told the FBI about discussions he had with the President and the Vice President. These passages, however, were redacted from the copies made available to the Committee. Similar passages were also redacted from other interviews.
There are no sound reasons for you to withhold the interviews with the President and the Vice President from the Committee or to redact passages like Mr. McClellan’s discussions with the President and the Vice President. Mr. Fitzgerald’s investigation is closed and he has indicated that it would be appropriate to share these records with the Committee. There has been no assertion of executive privilege.
Moreover, withholding these documents would create an unfortunate double standard. During the Clinton Administration, the Committee requested the records of FBI interviews with President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1997 and 1998 as part of the Committee’s campaign finance investigation. These records were turned over to the Committee by the Justice Department without any consultation with the White House. […]
The information that you are withholding may hold answers to these questions. The FBI interview reports that you have shared with the Committee raise the possibility that Vice President Cheney may be implicated in the release of Ms. Wilson’s identity. Mr. McClellan’s recent disclosures indicate that both President Bush and Vice President Cheney played a role in directing the White House response. The Committee cannot complete its inquiry into these matters without receiving the reports of their FBI interviews. […]
More thoughts on the matter from one of the closest observers of the Plame leak investigation, Marcy Wheeler, who’s long argued the evidence suggests the president and vice president were involved in ordering the exposure of Plame’s identity and CIA work to reporters.