Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said Lewis “Scooter” Libby told the FBI that it's possible he was instructed by Cheney to disseminate information to the press about the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Plame's CIA identity was leaked to the news media in 2003 by several top Bush administration officials, including Libby and former top White House political adviser Karl Rove.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
“This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter,” Waxman wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Waxman said the disclosure cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the FBI's interview of Cheney.
In July, President Bush commuted Libby's 21/2-year sentence, sparing him from serving any prison time after being convicted of perjury, obstructing justice and lying to the FBI.
Waxman also drew on new information provided by former White House spokesman Scott McClellan, whose book on his years at the White House has angered administration officials. Waxman noted that McClellan says both the president and vice president “directed me to go out there and exonerate Scooter Libby.”
In his letter to the attorney general, Waxman said that it would be a major breach of trust if Cheney personally directed McClellan to mislead the public.
Waxman is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and he first asked Mukasey for documents six months ago, including the FBI interviews of President Bush and Cheney.
The Justice Department provided edited versions of FBI interview reports with various White House officials including Libby and Rove, but nothing on Bush or Cheney.
“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 wrote. “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.”
Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride declined to comment, noting a pending lawsuit filed by Plame. The suit accuses Cheney and several administration officials of revealing her identity to reporters.