Cheney Taps Torture Memo Author
to Replace Scooter Libby
By Amy Goodman
On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney
appointed his legal counsel, David Addington, to be
his new chief of staff following the resignation of Lewis "Scooter"
Libby. Addington once wrote the war on terorrism has rendered the Geneva Conventions
"obsolete." We speak with investigative reporter Murray Waas and hear former Ambassador Joseph Wilson speak out on
the outing of his wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame.
[includes rush transcript] Former ambassador Joseph
Wilson on Monday gave his version of events into who leaked the identity of his
wife, CIA operative, Valerie Plame - and eventually
led to a White House staff member being indicted for crimes committed in the
office for the first time in 130 years. In July 2003,
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Joseph Wilson: "There remain two questions on the table: why and who put the words in the address and who ultimately will be held responsible for having compromised the identity of a CIA operative and essentially compromising the national security of this country."
So far, the investigation into the CIA
leak has lead to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of
staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby was indicted on Friday on charges
of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements. He resigned following
the indictments. President Bush's chief advisor Karl Rove has so far escaped indictment
for his role in the leak. He remains under investigation. Back in August of
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Joseph Wilson: I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't believe Mr. Rove should be permitted to resign. I believe that this is a firing offence. To be so cavalier in the handling of the secrets of this great nation really is an abuse of the public trust."
While Karl Rove remains in the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney has appointed his legal counsel, David Addington, to replace Scooter Libby. Cheney also appointed John Hannah, who had served on his national security staff since March 2001, as assistant to the vice president for national security affairs. Libby had held both positions. Addington was referred to by job title in the indictment of Libby on Friday, and appears likely to be called as a witness should Libby's case go to trial.
<![endif]>Murray Waas, investigative journalist and one of the leading reporters in the
CIA leak case. He co-authored an article in the National Journal on Sunday
about David Addington. I spoke with him at his home
Amy Goodman: This is what
Joseph Wilson: There remain two questions on the table. Why and who put the sixteen words in the State of the Union address, and who ultimately will be held responsible for having compromised the identity of a CIA operative and essentially compromising the national security of this country?
Amy Goodman: So far the investigation
into the CIA leak has led to the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's
former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Libby was indicted
Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and false statements. He
resigned following the indictments. President Bush's Chief Advisor, Karl Rove,
has so far escaped indictment for his role in the leak. He remains, though,
under investigation. Back in August 2003,
Joseph Wilson: I'll say it again. I don't believe Mr. Rove should be permitted to resign. I believe that this is a firing offense. To be so cavalier in the handling of the secrets of this great nation really is an abuse of the public trust.
Amy Goodman: That is Ambassador Joseph Wilson. While Karl Rove remains in the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney has appointed his legal counsel, David Addington, to replace Scooter Libby. Cheney also appointed John Hannah, who served on his national security staff since March 2001 as assistant to the Vice President for national security affairs. Libby had held both positions. Addington was referred to - by the job title in the indictment of Libby on Friday and appears likely to be called as a witness should Libby's case go to trial. On Monday, I spoke with investigative journalist Murray Waas, one of the leading investigative reporters in the CIA leak case. He co-authored an article in the National Journal Sunday about David Addington.
Amy Goodman: Can you talk about who David Addington is?
Amy Goodman: So what does it mean with the indictment of Libby and Libby resigning that he has stuck within this inner circle, who Addington has been in terms of known for secrecy, even being a part of perhaps the whole leak circle?
The secrecy issue is kind of extraordinary, the degree to which they take it. We talked to, for the story that I wrote in the National Journal, my colleagues spoke to a guy named Bruce Fein, who was a senior official in the Reagan administration's Justice Department. And his name is Bruce Fein. And he said, "We've never" - he's a conservative. He said, 'We've never seen anything like this. We've never seen the secrecy, we've never seen the executive privilege claims, the holding back of information.' What makes that notable is that Bruce Fein, who's now an attorney in private practice, he was severely criticized himself by members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, and also by advocacy groups for, himself, expanding executive authority regarding secrecy.
Amy Goodman: And so, Addington, on this issue of secrecy, the reports from - being the one to advise Cheney not to hand over information about which energy companies he was meeting with and energy policy to the 9/11 Commission, doing battle with the commission, talk about that.
Well, it turns out that the indictment charges, they leaked the most sensitive and important national security secret that there is. That's the name of a covert CIA operative and the leak of that particular information not only put this CIA officer, Valerie Plame, at risk, it put other people at the CIA at risk. It put sources and assets at risk for people both on the right and left. And, you know, we want a war on terrorism or whatever where we can at least obtain the information, where we can protect covert assets or whatever. Here was a legitimate secret. Here was something that people, conservatives and the people on the right, would be the most upset about. And despite holding back what others were saying innocuous pieces of information from Congress or things that were embarrassing and saying they wanted to reassert this authority on secrecy and privilege and stuff, most people didn't even think it was a reassertion, because it was a radical new interpretation of executive privilege.
Amy Goodman: That is Murray Waas, investigative reporter - his piece appears at NationalJournal.com - speaking about the new appointment to replace Scooter Libby by Vice President Cheney of David Addington.
Cheney Promotes Two with Dirty Hands to
Take Over for Libby
By Matthew Rothschild
The Vice President has decided to split Scooter Libby in half, replacing him with two other trusted advisers who also have dirty hands.
Both appear by title but not by name in the Libby indictment.
David Addington, Cheney's new chief of staff, met with Libby two days after Joe Wilson's op-ed came out. Libby asked Addington, then counsel to the Vice President, about paperwork the CIA might have "if an employee's spouse undertook an overseas trip," the indictment says.
John Hannah, Cheney's new assistant for
national security, was principal deputy assistant to the Vice President for
national security affairs. The indictment mentions a
Libby responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure phone."
That's more than a little suspicious.
Both Addington and Hannah were questioned in the investigation, according to The New York Times. Both may have to testify at trial - if it ever comes to that.
But Cheney appears ready to take the risk of further entanglement and embarrassment in the scandal by promoting these two characters in the plot.
Addington's and Hannah's hands are dirty for other reasons, as well.
assistant general counsel to the CIA from 1981 to 1984, when Reagan's CIA was
funding the death squads in
As Cheney's counsel in the Vice President's office, Addington was a primary advocate of Bush's military tribunal policy and his relaxed attitude toward torture.
"On at least two of the most controversial policies endorsed by Gonzales, officials familiar with the events say the impetus for action came from Addington," R. Jeffrey Smith and Dan Eggen reported in The Washington Post on January 5. Addington even "drafted an early version of a legal memorandum circulated to other departments in Gonzales's name."
According to The Nation, that memorandum was the one dated January 25, 2002, which contains the following notorious line: "This new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges, scrip (i.e., advances of monthly pay), athletic uniforms, and scientific instruments." This memo also advises that a Presidential determination that says the Geneva Conventions don't apply "substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act."
Hannah, for his part, allegedly served as the funnel that Ahmad Chalabi used to pour misinformation about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction back to the White House. Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress (INC) led the propaganda effort, with an apparent assist from Hannah. "On June 26, 2002, the INC wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee staff identifying Hannah as the White House recipient of information gathered by the group," according to a Knight Ridder article by Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel. (The article noted that Cheney's office has denied Hannah received the information from the INC.)
Far from cleaning shop, Cheney has chosen to surround himself with co-conspirators.