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Thread: Judge orders release of Dick Cheney interview with FBI

  1. #1
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Judge orders release of Dick Cheney interview with FBI

    Government Ordered to Release Much of What Cheney Told Leak Investigators

    By Del Quentin Wilber
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, October 2, 2009

    A federal judge Thursday ordered the Justice Department to make public large portions of statements made by then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney to federal investigators about the Valerie Plame case.

    Ruling in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by a public-interest group, the judge dismissed government objections to releasing FBI reports and notes that describe an interview that Cheney had with a special prosecutor.

    The government had argued that it could withhold the records because their release might chill cooperation by White House officials in future investigations.

    At one point, the Justice Department argued that future officials might not want to talk to investigators if they knew that such interviews might "get on 'The Daily Show' " or be used as a political weapon.

    But U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the government's arguments were too vague to justify withholding the documents.

    To properly withhold the records, the judge said, the Justice Department has to show that the release of specific information contained in the Cheney reports would harm a future investigation. That is not the case with the Cheney records, the judge wrote.

    The government conceded in court hearings that no prosecutions would result from the information Cheney supplied.

    Sullivan did agree with the Justice Department, however, that the government can withhold "limited information" involving national security matters, personal information or communications between Cheney and then-President George W. Bush.

    The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sought the records under the Freedom of Information Act last year.

    Anne Weismann, chief counsel for CREW, said, "Overall, we are very pleased that the judge did not accept an interpretation of FOIA that would have allowed the government to withhold law enforcement records in virtually every case."

    She said she was disappointed that the judge is allowing the Justice Department to withhold portions of the documents. Weismann said the redacted portions of the documents might be "the most revealing."

    Justice Department spokesman Matthew A. Miller said the agency is reviewing the decision.

    The judge ordered that the documents be turned over by Oct. 9. CREW wanted documents describing Cheney's interviews with Patrick Fitzgerald in 2004 as part of the special prosecutor's probe of the Bush administration's leak of Plame's connection to the CIA.

    Plame was a covert CIA officer until her name appeared in the media after public criticism by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat, of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq.

    Cheney was not charged with wrongdoing, but his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted in 2007 of obstruction of justice and perjury in the probe.
    washingtonpost.com

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    they'll never release it anyway
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Yes,they will.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    under what threat? Judges ordered Bush and his DOJ to do many things, all of which they ignored to no consequence.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    under what threat? Judges ordered Bush and his DOJ to do many things, all of which they ignored to no consequence.
    Stay tuned. We shall see.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    No, i want to know what enforcement capability is in play here. Federal Marshalls? Some kind of law? What are their options?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    No, i want to know what enforcement capability is in play here. Federal Marshalls? Some kind of law? What are their options?
    Thousands of eager reporters and various news bureaus, Freedom of Information Act. It will be published.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    under what threat? Judges ordered Bush and his DOJ to do many things, all of which they ignored to no consequence.
    You're talking about the Bush DOJ. There's no evidence that Holder is going to appeal this case higher. They'll release it by next Friday as the judge stated.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    They don't have to appeal it. They can just IGNORE it.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    *sigh*
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Holder's DOJ will comply.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    What Judge Sullivan’s Opinion Means

    By: emptywheel Thursday October 1, 2009 11:34 am

    As I reported, Judge Emmet Sullivan has issued his ruling in the Dick Cheney interview FOIA, ruling partly for and partly against CREW. Sullivan has ordered DOJ to turn over the documents in question by October 9. He has directed DOJ to redact the information exempted in two earlier filings. So, as I suggested, we'll get some new information. But we won't learn how Cheney answered when asked whether Bush authorized him to leak classified information (which ended up including Valerie Wilson's identity).

    Here's some more detail on what the ruling means.

    A Rebuke to Obama's Executive Power Grab


    While Judge Sullivan accepted all of Ralph DiMaio and David Barron's specific exemptions based on national security or deliberative grounds, he rejected the laughable DOJ argument that releasing Cheney's interview materials would dissuade other high level White House officials from cooperating in investigations. That's important, because it rejects a theory that would shield a great deal of information on White House criminality. Here's Sullivan's description of everything that would be shielded under such a theory.
    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.
    I'm guessing, but unless the parts of Cheney's interview Sullivan has ordered to be released are a lot more scandalous than I think they are, I don't think Obama's DOJ will appeal this because it's unlikely the Appeals Court will agree with them, and as we've seen, Obama's Administration tends to go to great lengths to avoid letting Appeals Courts issue rulings in relatively unimportant cases that reign in executive power.

    Continued Shielding of the Most Important Information in Cheney's Interview


    As I've said, Judge Sullivan did accept all the national security and deliberative exemptions that DOJ and CIA invoked. Here's a list of what that includes, and here's my more detailed description of how Cheney probably responded.
    • Vice President's discussion of the substance of a conversation he had with the Director of the CIA concerning the decision to send Ambassador Wilson on a fact-finding mission to Niger in 2002.
    • Vice President's discussion of his requests for information from the CIA relating to reported efforts by Iraqi officials to purchase uranium from Niger.
    • Vice President's recollection of the substance of his discussions with the National Security Advisor while she was on a trip to Africa.
    • Vice President's description of government deliberations, including discussions between the Vice President and the Deputy National Security Advisor, in preparation of a statement by the Director of CIA regarding the accuracy of a statement in the President's 2003 State of the Union Address.
    • Vice President's recollection of discussions with Lewis Libby, the White House Communications Director, and the White House Chief of Staff regarding the appropriate response to media inquiries about the source of the disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as a CIA employee.
    • Vice President's description of his role in resolving disputes about whether to declassify certain information.
    • Vice President's description of government deliberations involving senior officials regarding whether to declassify portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.
    • Description of a confidential conversation between the Vice President and the President, and description of an apparent communication between the Vice President and the President.
    • Names of non-governmental third-parties and details of their extraneous interactions with the Vice President.
    • Name of a CIA briefer.
    • Names of FBI agents.
    • Names of foreign government and liaison services.
    • The name of a covert CIA employee.
    • The methods CIA uses to assess and evaluate intelligence and inform policy makers.
    Assuming DOJ does responds to Sullivan's order, I expect them to withhold significant parts of pages 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 23, 25, and 26. Which means we'll get roughly 15 pages out of 28, plus fragments of the remaining 13 pages. Not bad, but as you can tell, the most interesting information will be withheld.

    Interestingly, Sullivan sort of confirmed a claim DOJ had made earlier: in spite of the fact that we know a great deal about this information already, some of it does not identically match what we already know.
    First, a review of CREW’s declaration and attachments in conjunction with DOJ’s in camera submission demonstrates that none of the withheld records has been publicly released; nor has information identical to the information contained in those documents been made public. More fundamentally, however, CREW’s argument ignores the purpose of the deliberative process privilege, which is designed to protect the decision making process itself. Regardless of whether certain factual information is publicly available, the information in the withheld documents is protected precisely because it might compromise what information was considered and what role it played in the deliberative process. [my emphasis]
    Though Sullivan's statement is weaker than the claim DOJ made, this does suggest that Cheney's story didn't entirely match the story released publicly at trial.

    A Potential to Demand the Information O'Donnell Already Requested??


    Now, Sullivan pretty much blew away CREW's argument that Cheney had effectively waived any privilege when he acceded to the interview with Pat Fitzgerald. But I'm curious whether Sullivan's interpretation of the case that both CREW and DOJ relied on on this issue leaves room to argue that Cheney did waive privilege by having his lawyer leak information about his interview to Michael Isikoff. Here's what Sullivan had to say about the waiver argument.
    Contrary to CREW’s suggestion, the court in In re Sealed Case did not create a per se rule that a disclosure to any third party constitutes a waiver of any and all privilege claims. Rather, the court simply concluded based on the facts in that case that the deliberative process privilege could not be asserted as to documents that had already been revealed to the public and to a private, non-government attorney. The present case, by contrast, involves the disclosure of information gained by Vice President Cheney in his official capacity and disclosed to Fitzgerald the Special Counsel in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer. In re Sealed Case, quite simply, does not address the issue before the Court – whether the information given by Vice President Cheney to constituted a protected inter-agency communication or a public disclosure to a third party.
    In other words, Sullivan argues that Fitzgerald does not count as a third party.

    Now, as I've noted before, we know that Cheney's lawyer, Terry O'Donnell, leaked a key part of the information over which Barron invoked the deliberative privilege--whether or not Bush declassified information for Cheney to leak. Here's what O'Donnell leaked to Michael Isikoff.
    ... the "president declassified the information and authorized and directed the vice president to get it out." But Bush "didn't get into how it would be done. He was not involved in selecting Scooter Libby or Judy Miller." Bush made the decision to put out the NIE material in late June,
    Michael Isikoff is, by anyone's definition, a third party. And so it seems as if Sullivan might buy the "waiver" argument with regards to this information.

    And that's some of the most critical information in Cheney's interview.
    Emptywheel » What Judge Sullivan’s Opinion Means

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by visitor42 View Post
    Holder's DOJ will comply.
    i'm sorry, what is everybody basing this on? LOL
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    They're not appealing.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    yeah, again neither did the last DOJ.. they simply ignored the directive..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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