Cheney Says He Might Testify in Leak Case

The Associated Press
Thursday, June 22, 2006; 7:57 PM

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday he might have to testify in the CIA leak trial of his former chief of staff.

Cheney made the comment in a CNN interview, following last month's suggestion by prosecutors that the vice president would be a logical witness in the case of I. Lewis Libby, who is accused of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI.

Libby is "one of the finest men I've ever known," Cheney said, then declined further comment. "I may be called as a witness."

Cheney's state of mind is directly relevant to whether Libby lied to FBI agents and a federal grand jury about how Libby learned CIA officer Valerie Plame's identity and what he later told reporters, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald has said in recently filed court papers.

Libby "shared the interests of his superior and was subject to his direction," the prosecutor wrote.

Fitzgerald has revealed that Cheney was upset because Plame's husband _ former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson _ had accused the Bush administration of manipulating prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat from weapons of mass destruction.

The vice president, the prosecutor said, could authenticate notes he jotted on a copy of Wilson's New York Times opinion column.

In the jotted notes, the vice president speculated that Wilson's wife might have sent him on a junket to the African nation of Niger. Wilson's African trip formed the basis for his later criticism of the Bush administration.

© 2006 The Associated Press