In an interview with The Daily Caller, former Vice President Dick Cheney says former New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s new doubts about the accuracy of her testimony against Scooter Libby confirms his long-held belief that his former top aide was wrongly charged by a “runaway special prosecutor” trying to make a name for himself in the Valerie Plame affair.
“Scooter paid a hell of a price, and he was an innocent man all along,” Cheney told TheDC in a Wednesday morning phone call.
“I always believed Scooter was innocent,” Cheney added. “What Judith Miller basically provides is confirmation of the fact that he was innocent.”
Miller served as a witness in the 2007 trial against Libby on counts of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements. She testified in the trial that Libby had told her that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. Prosecutors argued Libby lied to cover that up.
But in her new book, The Story: A Reporter’s Journey, Miller says she has now concluded, after reviewing old notes, that her testimony about her conversations with Libby that led to his conviction may have been false. Miller says she is afraid her memory “may have failed me” during the trial, and now doubts Libby ever told her that Plame worked for the CIA.
“My testimony, though sworn honestly, might have been wrong,” Miller writes in her book, saying she now worries she “helped to convict an innocent man.”
Miller also suggests in her book that Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald “steered” her “in the wrong direction” to potentially give inaccurate testimony.
At the end of his term, President George W. Bush commuted Libby’s sentence of 30-months in prison. Bush did not pardon him, meaning Libby remains a convicted felon to this day.
Cheney told TheDC on Wednesday that he wants to see Libby’s name “cleared.”
Asked if he will renew a push for a presidential pardon, Cheney said: “I don’t have any plans at this point. I don’t know what Scooter will do and what’s immediately available to him.”
“I think it’s important that the record reflect the fact that he was not guilty of any crime,” Cheney said. “That there’s been a gross miscarriage of justice here, and at a minimum, the record needs to be set straight, and that stigma of being a convicted felon needs to be dealt with. He ought to be able to renew his law license, his ability to practice law again, and so forth. So I think the Miller book is important because it sets the record straight.”
Miller also writes in her book that she learned from Libby’s attorney that Fitzgerald “had twice offered to drop all charges against Libby if his client would ‘deliver’ Cheney to him.”
Cheney says that shows what Fitzgerald’s real intentions were in going after Libby.
“It was a runaway special prosecutor who, I think, manipulated the system because he was trying to make a name for himself,” Cheney said. “I apparently was the target based upon the fact that he went to Scooter’s lawyer and told him if Scooter would testify against me he’d drop the charges against Scooter. I hadn’t been accused of anything. I hadn’t done anything.”
NEXT PAGE: ‘He was falsely accused’
Speaking of his former aide, Cheney said: “Scooter Libby is a tremendously able, talented guy. He worked for me twice. Once when I was secretary of defense. And then he became my chief of staff when I became vice president. He’s a brilliant attorney. Also very good on national security policy. And so he was probably one of the two or three top people I had working for me while I was vice president.”
“He was falsely accused of leaking the identity of a supposedly classified CIA employee,” Cheney said. “And after a long trial, he was convicted, sentenced to 30 months in prison, fined a quarter million dollars, became a convicted felon and therefore lost his law license. It was a devastating outcome for him. The president commuted the prison sentence, but Scooter has been living with that now, since the indictments were first handed down.”
Cheney argued that it made no sense for Fitzgerald to go after Libby, especially considering it was known that Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the one who leaked Plame’s information to reporter Bob Novak.
“Scooter was not the source of the leak,” Cheney said. “Secondly, I think the crime occurs if you leak the identity of a classified agent. And supposedly, it did not apply to Valerie Plame. No one was ever prosecuted for the leak. But Fitzgerald took the charge. And even though he knew from the outset that Scooter had not been the source of the leak … he launched an investigation that ran for many, many months.”
“He was obviously an innocent man, unfairly indicted, and convicted, and the whole thing was basically a runaway special prosecutor relying on Miller’s testimony,” Cheney said of Libby.
“What Judith Miller has done is confirm my belief that it was a phony deal from the outset.”