Newly released details of a May 2004 interview with the FBI show the then-Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly invoked poor memory when asked about the circumstances of the leakage of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the media in 2003.
In fact, during the course of the lengthy interview Cheney is heard using the phrase "I don’t recall" a total of 72 times, according to media reports. The phrase was in reference to any discussions he may have had about Plame with his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who was ultimately convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about the leak.
The 28-page summary was released after the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a watchdog group in Washington, sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act.
The organization’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan commented that Cheney’s "near total amnesia regarding his role in this monumental Washington scandal" explains why special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald famously declared that there is "a cloud over the vice president."
Valerie Plame was the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson who was a critic of the Iraq war. The leaking of her name became the subject of one of the biggest controversies of George W. Bush’s presidency. Libby was the only person convicted in the case, but his sentence was later commuted by President Bush.