Vice President Cheney could be called to testify in a federal trial where his former top aide is accused of perjury in connection with the public disclosure of a CIA officer's identity.
In court documents filed Wednesday, The special prosecutor in the case says Cheney's handwritten notes on an old newspaper article can corroborate the charge that Lewis "Scooter" Libby lied about his role in the subsequent disclosure of the undercover CIA officer's name.
The newspaper column was written for The New York Times in 2003 by Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Niger, who accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence to justify going to war against Iraq. The Central Intelligence Agency had sent Wilson on a fact-finding mission to Niger a year earlier, to determine whether Saddam Hussein's regime tried to buy uranium in the African country.
The vice president's handwritten notes on the copy of Wilson's article ask whether the trip to Niger was a junket organized by Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, who was at the time an undercover CIA officer.
In his court filings, Fitzgerald says Libby testified to a grand jury that the vice president felt his credibility had been attacked by Wilson, and directed his aide to "get all the facts out."
Plame's identity was disclosed several days later by conservative newspaper columnist Robert Novak.
Fitzgerald says Cheney's "state of mind" is directly relevant as to whether Libby knowingly made false statements to federal agents and to a grand jury about how he learned of Plame's identity.
In addition to perjury, Libby is also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements. His trial is scheduled to begin in January.