- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 15, 2005


Notes by New York Times journalist Judith Miller that were turned over in a criminal investigation contain the name of a CIA officer, but the reporter told prosecutors she cannot recall who disclosed the name, the newspaper reported yesterday.

The prosecutor in the case asked Miss Miller in recent days to explain how Valerie Plame — misspelled in her notes as “Valerie Flame” — appeared in the same notebook the reporter used in interviewing her confidential source, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, according to the Times.

In response to questioning by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Miss Miller replied that she “didn’t think” she heard Mrs. Plame’s name from Mr. Cheney’s aide, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

“I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall,” Miss Miller wrote, recounting her testimony for an article that the newspaper posted on its Web site yesterday afternoon.

Mr. Fitzgerald has focused on three conversations Miss Miller had with Mr. Libby as the prosecutor investigates whether a crime was committed in the leaking of Mrs. Plame’s identity to reporters. The public disclosure of Mrs. Plame’s identify followed strong criticism of the Bush administration by her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

The newspaper said that Miss Miller and Mr. Libby met for breakfast at a hotel near the White House on July 8, 2003, two days after Mr. Wilson stated that the Bush administration had manipulated prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. Miss Miller had been assigned to write a story about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The notebook Miss Miller used for that July 8 interview includes the reference to “Valerie Flame.” But Miss Miller said that name did not appear in the same portion of her notebook as the interview notes from Mr. Libby, according to the Times.

At the breakfast, Mr. Libby provided a detail about Mr. Wilson’s wife, saying she worked in a CIA unit known as Winpac. The name stands for weapons intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control. Miss Miller said she understood this to mean that Mr. Wilson’s wife was an analyst rather than an undercover operative.

In a July 12, 2003, phone call with Mr. Libby, another variant on Mrs. Plame’s name appears in Miss Miller’s notes — “Victoria Wilson.” The newspaper’s account yesterday says that by the time of the July 12 phone call, Miss Miller had called other sources about Mr. Wilson’s wife.

Mr. Fitzgerald also asked Miss Miller whether Mr. Cheney knew of the conversations between herself and Mr. Libby.

Miss Miller wrote that Mr. Fitzgerald “asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no.”

She also said, “Mr. Fitzgerald asked if I had discussed classified information with Mr. Libby. I said I believe so, but could not be sure.”

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