Most of the FBI’s interview of former Vice President Dick Cheney about the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity must be released to the public, a federal judge ordered today.
The 2004 Cheney interview was part of an FBI probe into the leak of Plame’s covert identity after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly argued the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence information to support an assertion in the 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq had purchased uranium from Niger.
Judge Emmet Sullivan said the Department of Justice did not have the authority to withhold the entire 67-page interview under the Freedom of Information Act, although he allowed the government to withold some documents to preserve privacy and national security interests.
The Associated Press reported that both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations argued against the release of the interview because its release might dissuade future leaders from cooperating with investigations.
The nonprofit government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington brought the lawsuit in 2008 after the government denied its FOIA request for the documents.
Cheney was never charged in conjunction with the leak, but I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff, was convicted of obstruction of justice and perjury.