Cheney should release Iraq memos, outed CIA agent’s husband says

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 By John Byrne

“I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions,” Cheney said.

Later reports revealed that Cheney may have been lying. A senior intelligence official told NBC News that the CIA had received no such request from the ex-vice president.

Cheney took center stage last week after claiming that he sought the declassification of memos which allegedly showed that the Bush Administration’s torture techniques…

 

     The husband of the CIA agent outed by the Bush Administration in the wake of the Iraq war demanded Monday that former Vice President Cheney release transcripts of his testimony in the CIA leak case after Cheney publicly called for more documents to be declassified in the war on terror.

Cheney took center stage last week after claiming that he sought the declassification of memos which allegedly showed that the Bush Administration’s torture techniques provided valuable intelligence. It later emerged that he’d only placed a request with the National Archives, and that he did it after President Barack Obama released legal memorandums that explicitly detailed interrogation methods the Bush administration had approved.

On Monday, Joseph Wilson, the former Clinton administrator ambassador and husband of outed CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson who traveled to Niger in 2002 to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein had sought to acquire uranium, called on Cheney to apply the same standard of transparency to himself.

“Cheney’s request for the declassification of material is a welcome development, but it should not be limited to his narrow request,” Wilson wrote on the weblog The Daily Beast. “Our country’s understanding of what was done in our name by the Bush administration depends on the release, not just of the documents Cheney has designated, but of all documents related to the efforts of the Bush administration and Cheney himself to defend the indefensible—the decision to invade Iraq despite the knowledge at the time that Iraq did not have a nuclear program, had no ties to al Qaeda, and posed no existential threat to the United States or to its friends and allies in the region.”

Specifically, Wilson called on the ex-VP to make public his testimony in the case of his wife’s outing as a CIA officer.

“Among other documents Cheney should release is his testimony to Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald about the role he played in the treasonous leak of the identity of a covert CIA officer,” Wilson wrote. “His chief of staff, I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury for his efforts to ensure that the ‘cloud over the vice president,’ as Fitzgerald noted, was not penetrated.”

“As a witness in the Libby case, Cheney has the legal grounds to release his own testimony,” Wilson continued. “If he feels more comfortable, he can ask permission, though he does not need it, from former President George W. Bush—and ask that Bush release his testimony as well. Because Cheney has called for transparency, why should he or Bush object? Then Pat Fitzgerald can make public the transcripts. It’s time for this coverup to end.”

Wilson served as an ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe during the Clinton Administration and was posted to several African nations during the first Bush administration. In 2002, at the behest of Bush administration officials, he traveled to Niger to investigate claims that Saddam Hussein had sought to acquire yellowcake uranium — a component in a nuclear weapon — from the African state. Wilson found the claims to be spurious.

Despite reporting back to the Administration that the claims were bogus, President George W. Bush included the false assertion in his 2003 State of the Union address. The United Nations later found documents supposedly tying the Iraqi government to Niger to be “obvious forgeries.”

Distraught at the Bush Administration’s claims, Wilson authored a New York Times editorial, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” in July 2003. A week later, his wife was outed as a CIA agent by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

Last week, Vice President Cheney claimed during a Fox News Channel interview Monday night that he had “formally asked” the CIA to declassify memos which “showed the success of” using harsh interrogation practices such as waterboarding against detainees.

“I’ve now formally asked the CIA to take steps to declassify those memos so we can lay them out there and the American people have a chance to see what we obtained and what we learned and how good the intelligence was, as well as to see this debate over the legal opinions,” Cheney said.

Later reports revealed that Cheney may have been lying. A senior intelligence official told NBC News that the CIA had received no such request from the ex-vice president.

Ultimately, it emerged that if anything, Cheney had filed the request with the National Archives.

“A source familiar with the request said the former vice president made the request to the National Archives, and said that is the appropriate process for requesting declassification,” Politico said.

Wilson asserted that Cheney has engaged in a pattern of disinformation.

“I know something about Cheney’s disinformation,” he wrote. “When I, and a number of others, including a four-star Marine Corps general, Carleton Fulford, and the then-U.S. Ambassador to the West African nation of Niger, reported to the CIA that there was no evidence to support the assertion that Iraq had entered into a contract to purchase 500 tons of uranium yellowcake, our conclusions were ignored by the Bush administration. Instead, the president, in his State of the Union address in 2003, proclaimed a falsehood: ‘Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’”

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