From AP via truthout.org :
Fitzgerald Mum on Cheney in Leak Case
By Matt Apuzzo
The Associated Press
Thursday 14 December 2006
Washington - Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said Thursday that he does not expect any government officials to refuse to testify in the CIA leak trial, but he did not specifically say whether Vice President Dick Cheney or other top White House officials were on his witness list.
Attorneys for Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, meanwhile, told a judge that two unidentified reporters may resist testifying on Libby's behalf in the case. The attorneys predicted the issue would be resolved before trial, however.
Libby is accused of lying to investigators about what he told reporters regarding former CIA operative Valerie Plame. Plame's identity was leaked to reporters around the time that her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, publicly criticized the Bush administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.
Cheney has said he may be called as a witness. If so, prosecutors could ask how the White House responded to those criticisms. Cheney was upset by Wilson's comments, Fitzgerald has said, and told Libby that Plame worked for the CIA.
That conversation is a key to Fitzgerald's perjury case. Libby testified that he learned about Plame's job from a reporter.
Cheney could also help prosecutors undermine Libby's defense that he was so preoccupied with national security matters, he forgot details about the less-important Plame issue. Prosecutors argue that Plame was a key concern of the vice president, and thus would have been important to Libby.
Sitting presidents, including Clinton and Ford, have testified in criminal cases but presidential historians and separation-of-powers experts said they knew of no vice president who has done so. The first President Bush was subpoenaed to testify in the Iran-Contra trial of Oliver North. At the time, Bush was Reagan's vice president, but Bush was president by the time a judge ruled he did not need to testify.
Government officials and journalists will be the key witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled to begin next month. Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller and NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert are expected to be prosecution witnesses and Libby's lawyers said in court papers Thursday that several reporters will testify on Libby's behalf.
Attorneys also said they'd subpoenaed for the tape of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's interview with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Armitage has admitted he discussed Plame's job with Woodward in 2003 but said it was a passing, inadvertent comment.
Woodward's tape has been turned over to prosecutors and Libby's attorneys said they expect no objection to their subpoena.
Cheney would be the most anticipated witness of the trial. He and Libby got to know each other when Cheney was defense secretary under the first President Bush. Libby has been extremely loyal to Cheney and, in return, had the vice president's unwavering trust.
By 2000, Libby was working as a top adviser to Cheney in the presidential campaign and then followed him to the White House. In the White House, he was known as "Cheney's Cheney" for being as trusted a problem solver for the vice president as Cheney was for Bush.
Even after Libby's indictment, Cheney called him "one of the finest men I've ever known."