Skip to comments.Judge orders partial release of Cheney CIA leak interview
Posted on 10/01/2009 9:38:30 AM PDT by STARWISE
A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to release notes and summaries of former Vice President Dick Cheney's 2004 interview with Special Prosecutor Pat Fitzgerald in the CIA leak case, but is allowing the deletion of what may be some of the most interesting details in the documents.
In a ruling issued Thursday morning, Judge Emmet Sullivan flatly rejected claims by both Bush and Obama appointees at DOJ that the entirety of the records should be withheld because their disclosure could discourage White House officials from cooperating in future investigations. The judge said the prospect of such inquiries was "incurably speculative" and could not permit a judgment that such a chilling effect was likely to occur. He said the impact of such an argument would be "breathtakingly broad" and "be in direct contravention of 'the basic policy' of" the Freedom of Information Act.
The judge's ruling came in response to a FOIA suit filed by liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
While the judge rejected the government's overarching claim that the records could be kept secret, he accepted arguments from Obama Office of Legal Counsel acting chief David Barron that disclosure of some passages from Cheney's interview could chill Executive Branch deliberations.
In a likely disappointment to aficionados of the CIA leak case, however, Sullivan appears to have okayed the withholding of details about Cheney's talks with CIA Director George Tenet about Ambassador Joe Wilson's trip to Niger, talks with National Security Adviser Condi Rice, discussions regarding the 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union Address, discussions about how to respond to press inquiries about the leak of CIA officer Valerie Wilson's identity, and Cheney's involvement in declassification discussions.
"Judge Sullivan rightly rejected a Justice Department interpretation of the FOIA that would have allowed the government to withhold virtually any law enforcement record even where an investigation has long since been concluded," Melanie Sloan of CREW said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. We are disappointed, however, that the judge allowed DOJ to withhold portions of some records because the American people deserve to know the truth about the role the vice president played in exposing Mrs. Wilsons covert identity. High-level government officials should not be permitted to hide their misconduct from public view.
The Justice Department had no immediate comment on the ruling.
Cheney was never charged in connection with the CIA leak probe, though his chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was convicted of lying to investigators and obstructing justice in the case. Cheney was on Libby's witness list but was never called. However, at trial, Fitzgerald said the leak put a "cloud over the vice president."
President George W. Bush commuted Libby's jail sentence, but Cheney has expressed disappointment that his ex-aide was not granted a full pardon.
Some key language from Sullivan's decision Thursday:
DOJ has not and cannot describe with any reasonable degree of particularity the subject matter of the hypothetical proceedings, the parties involved, when such proceedings might occur, or how the information withheld here might be used by these hypothetical parties to interfere with these hypothetical proceedings. DOJ may be correct that the precise scope of an investigation or the statute under which a proceeding is likely to be brought need not be discerned in order to conclude that a proceeding is reasonably anticipated under Mapothers reasoning. Under this Courts reading of the statute and the relevant caselaw, however, the category of proceedings must be more narrowly defined than simply any investigation that might benefit from the cooperation of some senior White House official at some undetermined future point regarding some undefined subject...
In this sense, the category of proceedings that DOJ asks this Court to conclude are reasonably anticipated could encompass any law enforcement investigation during which law enforcement might wish to interview senior White House officials. Such proceedings might include an investigation into alleged criminal activity that physically took place in the White House; financial wrongdoing by a White House official that took place before or during his or her tenure in the executive branch; misconduct relating to official responsibilities, such as the breach of national security protocol that formed the basis of the Plame investigation; or even an event occurring outside the White House with only tangential connection to one or more White House officials.Thus conceived, it becomes clear that the scope of the proceedings described by DOJ is breathtakingly broad....
The information withheld by DOJ [as deliberative] recounts the ingredients of the decisionmaking process, and for that reason the information withheld qualifies as predecisional despite the fact that the interview in which the information was disclosed took place after the decisions were made.
Chris Matthews will get a weeks worth of shows out of this.
Would someone please provide a link to the thread that started with that pic when it was originally published (was it in Vanity Fair?), but eventually included some most excellent modifications of same.
It was hilarious.
Let me get this straight. The jusge ordered a partial release? Therefore... If not read properly in an entire context this will reflect very unfavorbly for Cheney?
No, it was a FR thread (I just searched - there are a lot) that started with the B&W pic but then the pic got photoshopped/captioned several times and it was a hilarious thread. Still looking for the thread.
When in doubt, go back to Bush, Cheney, or Rove. Bring up “Plamegate” or Scooter Libby. Anything possible to distract from the disastrous Democrat ObamaCare bill, cap and tax, and the poor economy.
Have they looked over Obama's international campaign donors list yet?
So they are REACHING to re try plameGate?
Then if that does not work...
Obama will further allow the Holder to attack the CIA in public hoping to put Bush/Cheney/ Ashcroft lawyers in jail?
You’re killing me!
Democrat traitorous leaks don’t matter. Only fake Republican leaks are investigated ad infinitum. Get the facts straight! /s
Thanks Dead. I should have known it was you. It was the Looter guy pic.
“Yo Spy Lady” LOL
Nothjing like progression ... ROFLOL