A BuzzFeed report claims Eric Edelman, a Romney campaign adviser who criticized the White House today for leaking classified national-security information, was “implicated” in the Justice Department’s 2005 perjury indictment of Lewis “Scooter” Libby as the person who “originally suggested the idea to Libby to start leaking information about Joe Wilson’s trip to Niger.”
Edelman is identified in the indictment only once, as Libby’s “Principal Deputy.” In the indictment’s timeline, Wilson’s trip to Niger to investigate whether Iraq had sought to purchase uranium there had already been discussed in the Washington Post and the New Republic, although Wilson had not been identified by name.
The New Republic story anonymously quoted Wilson accusing the Bush administration of knowing “the Niger story was a flat-out lie.”
According to the indictment, Edelman asked Libby whether the press should be contacted in order to correct the mischaracterized nature of Vice President Cheney’s role in sending Wilson to Niger. Contrary to BuzzFeed’s claim that Edelman was the source for the idea to “leak” Wilson’s trip to Niger, the indictment states that Edelman sought to clarify what he believed were erroneous reports that were already in the media.
According to the indictment, “Shortly after publication of the article in The New Republic, LIBBY spoke by telephone with his then Principal Deputy [Edelman] and discussed the article. That official asked LIBBY whether information about Wilson’s trip could be shared with the press to rebut the allegations that the Vice President had sent Wilson. LIBBY responded that there would be complications at the CIA in disclosing that information publicly, and that he could not discuss the matter on a non-secure telephone line.”
The Free Beacon was unable to find any language in the Justice Department indictment “implicating” Edelman in “leaking” any information or implicating him in any improper behavior related to the controversy.
It was former deputy secretary of State Richard Armitage, an opponent of the Iraq war, who revealed CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to columnist Robert Novak, thus sparking the Wilson “scandal.”