Reports: Cheney discussed Plame leak

Former Vice President Dick Cheney talked with White House officials about how to handle the fallout from the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson in 2003, according to media reports.

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Scooter Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, was convicted of perjury, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice in 2007 for his role in the leaking of Plame's identity to columnist Robert Novak. Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had publicly criticized the Bush administration for citing claims that Saddam Hussein's Iraq attempted to purchase nuclear materials from Niger, despite Wilson's own CIA-sponsored research debunking the evidence.

Cheney has denied any involvement in the Plame leak.

While Justice Department filings -- based on FBI interviews of Cheney from 2004 -- cited in stories by the Washington Post and The Associated Press do not contradict Cheney's past statements, they do reveal that he consulted with Libby, then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer about how to answer questions from the press about the Plame-Wilson affair.

In addition, Cheney spoke with then-CIA Director George Tenet about Wilson's trip to Niger.

The substance of Cheney's conversations with FBI officials has remained secret, apart from these scant details disclosed by federal prosecutors this week, according to the reports. The Justice Department under both Bush and President Obama have maintained that the contents of the interview should not be publicly disclosed because that would discourage high-ranking White House officials from cooperating with investigators in the future.