- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Gives notes of discussion to court

New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified yesterday before a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative’s identity about a previously undisclosed conversation with a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

At her second appearance before the grand jury, Miss Miller took questions for more than an hour after turning over notes detailing her June 23, 2003, conversation with Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby. An entry in her notes referred to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, CIA operative Valerie Plame’s husband.

That conversation could help federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald establish whether the White House started targeting Mr. Wilson and possibly his wife in the weeks before the former ambassador publicly accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence on Iraq.

President Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, also has been summoned to make a fourth appearance before the grand jury, most likely tomorrow, and prosecutors have told him they can make no guarantees he will not be indicted.

New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has acknowledged that Miss Miller remains under a contempt-of-court order for an earlier refusal to testify and “is not yet clear of legal jeopardy.”

After spending 85 days in jail for the refusal, Miss Miller testified before the grand jury on Sept. 30 about two previously disclosed conversations with Mr. Libby — on July 8 and July 12, 2003.

Mr. Libby had referred only to the July conversations when he wrote Miss Miller last month waiving a confidentiality pledge. The limited reference raised questions about whether he intended the waiver to apply to their conversation that June.

It was not clear how Mr. Fitzgerald learned of the June 23 conversation.

Legal sources close to Miss Miller said she discovered the notes after she testified.

Miss Miller was tight-lipped as she left the federal courthouse. “No comment today,” said her attorney, Robert Bennett.

Mr. Fitzgerald has not indicated whether he intends to bring indictments in his nearly two-year-old investigation into who leaked Mrs. Plame’s identity and whether any laws were broken.

He could bring charges against officials for knowingly revealing the identity of a CIA operative, but some lawyers involved in the case say his focus may have shifted to conspiracy, perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges.

Two lawyers said Mr. Fitzgerald may be seeking to extend the investigation beyond the grand jury’s scheduled Oct. 28 expiration because of the new information.

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