Trial Documents Offer Inside View of White House

Credit: From PDF of Court Document. i i

Vice President Dick Cheney's hand-written notes and underlining can be seen on this copy of Joseph Wilson's New York Times op-ed article. The article was introduced into evidence at the Libby trial. Court Document hide caption

itoggle caption Court Document
Credit: From PDF of Court Document.

Vice President Dick Cheney's hand-written notes and underlining can be seen on this copy of Joseph Wilson's New York Times op-ed article. The article was introduced into evidence at the Libby trial.

Court Document

The trial of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, opened up a window onto the inner operations of the White House and its relationship with the media.

A number of internal government documents were entered into evidence during Libby's trial that depict officials, including the vice president, directly engaged in shaping the media's coverage of the Bush administration and its drive to paint Iraq as a nuclear threat.

The documents included here were collected by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. They center around the response to President Bush's assertion in his 2003 State of the Union address to Congress that Iraq was actively seeking illicit purchases of refined uranium in Africa to supply a nuclear weapons program.

The court documents linked below are in PDF format and require the Adobe Acrobat program for viewing.


Cheney Questions Wilson Piece

Below is a clipping of Joseph Wilson's New York Times op-ed piece, published July 6, 2003. Wilson's article challenges the administration's public characterization of intelligence about alleged Iraqi attempts to buy uranium in Africa. The clipping shows Vice President Cheney's handwritten notes: "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to answer a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?" Wilson's wife is Valerie Plame, who worked for the CIA.


The CIA Explains Its Role

Below is a copy of a July 2003 statement made by CIA Director George Tenet in response to a disputed section in President Bush's State of the Union address. The first page of the document is marked "Unsatisfactory" by Libby, who was then chief of staff to Vice President Cheney.


Libby Challenges Dowd Column

Below is a printout of Maureen Dowd's New York Times column, "National House of Waffles," published on July 13, 2003. Large sections have been blacked out by the prosecution. Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University says that's not for national security reasons, but to focus the jury's attention on the section at the bottom. The handwritten notes on the document are from Libby. He writes, "not us" and "not to us" in response to suggestions that the CIA had debunked the evidence suggesting Iraq was trying to obtain yellowcake uranium in Africa.


How to Spin the Media

Below are the notes of Vice President Cheney's press officer, Cathie Martin. On the second page of the document, her handwritten notes list the administration's options in response to a disputed section in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University says, "These are their spin options and the pros and cons of putting the vice president on NBC's Meet the Press. Option Two is to leak the information to select reporters, including David Sanger of The New York Times and Walter Pincus of The Washington Post."


Notes on a Scandal

The notes at the top of this page (link below) are talking points written by Libby for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Vice President Cheney added his own notes at the bottom. They read, in part, "Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy the Pres [the words "the Pres" were crossed out by Cheney] that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others."

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