Ex-C.I.A. Officer Sues Cheney and Others Over Leak
Neil A. Lewis
New York Times
July 14, 2006
July 13, 2006- Valerie Wilson and her husband, Joseph
C. Wilson IV, filed suit on Thursday against Vice
President Dick Cheney, Mr. Cheney’s former top
aide and the senior presidential adviser Karl Rove,
charging they had conspired to violate their constitutional
lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court, accused
Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove and the former Cheney aide, I.
Lewis Libby Jr., of conspiring to destroy Ms. Wilson’s
career by leaking her identity as an undercover C.I.A.
operative to the press. It says the three men had
conspired to punish Mr. Wilson for his public assertions
that the Bush administration had twisted intelligence
to justify the invasion of Iraq.
civil lawsuit, which does not specify any amount of
damages being sought, is the latest chapter in a complicated
legal and political story that began when Valerie
Plame, Ms. Wilson’s unmarried name, first appeared
publicly in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak
on July 14, 2003.
fallout from that disclosure led to an investigation
by a special prosecutor into whether the leak violated
any laws and whether Ms. Wilson’s name was leaked
as part of a campaign to punish Mr. Wilson, a former
ambassador, for his criticism of the White House.
prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, did not bring any
charges in connection with laws that prohibit the
willful disclosure of the identity of a Central Intelligence
Agency officer. But he did indict Mr. Libby, also
known as Scooter, on perjury and obstruction of justice
charges, saying he had testified untruthfully to a
grand jury and federal agents when he said he learned
about Ms. Wilson’s role at the C.I.A. from reporters
rather than from several officials, including Mr.
Libby’s trial is scheduled to begin in February.
The judge has narrowed the issues in the case to whether
Mr. Libby lied and has excluded almost all evidence
about the politics surrounding the leak of Ms. Wilson’s
a result, the Wilsons’ suit has the potential
to keep alive those issues in a civil case, which
generally allows a wider scope of evidence.
the suit is also likely to face major hurdles, notably
the issue of whether the officials have any immunity
for their actions. The general standard from a 1982
Supreme Court case is that federal officials may be
sued for violating someone’s constitutional
rights if a reasonable person would believe they had
violated “clearly established law.”
pretrial motions in the Libby case have not, as yet,
produced evidence that there was any willful effort
to leak Ms. Wilson’s identity.
lawsuit says the officials’ actions have led
to “gross invasions of privacy” for the
Wilsons and caused them to fear for their children’s
safety because Ms. Wilson is now a target for those
who hate the United States. The suit says the officials
violated the couple’s right to privacy, freedom
of speech and equal protection of the laws.
Cheney’s spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, declined
to comment, noting that the issues were before a court
in the Libby trial. Robert D. Luskin, Mr. Rove’s
lawyer, said in an interview: “The allegations
are without merit. We may comment further when we
have an opportunity to review the complaint.”
Comstock, a spokeswoman for Mr. Libby, declined to
2006 New York Times