- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Reporter Judith Miller testified yesterday that former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr. identified a CIA operative to her on two occasions on dates earlier than he has told investigators he first heard the name from another reporter.

Mrs. Miller, the former New York Times reporter who spent 85 days in jail trying to avoid revealing those conversations, said Mr. Libby identified the wife of a prominent Iraq war critic as a CIA employee in face-to-face meetings on June 23 and July 8, 2003.

Mr. Libby, then Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, told the FBI and a grand jury that he thought he was hearing Valerie Plame’s CIA job for the first time from NBC’s Tim Russert on July 10, 2003.

Five government officials, including ex-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, also have testified they discussed Mrs. Plame and her CIA job with Mr. Libby before July 10.

Earlier yesterday, the jury saw notes Mr. Libby took on or about June 12 that indicated Mr. Cheney told Mr. Libby then that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV’s wife worked at the CIA.

The discrepancy over when Mr. Libby learned about Mrs. Plame is a major element in the charges on which he is being tried. He is not accused of leaking her name, but rather of perjury and obstruction of the investigation into how her name was leaked. Mr. Libby now says his memory failed him when he spoke with Mr. Russert and other reporters.

Mrs. Miller answered special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald’s questions in a calm, clear voice. She seemed less calm when questioned by defense lawyer William Jeffress.

Anticipating a defense attack on her memory, Mr. Fitzgerald brought out that Mrs. Miller did not mention the June 23 meeting in Mr. Libby’s office during her first grand jury testimony — after she decided Mr. Libby had freed her from a promise not to discuss their conversations. Mrs. Miller testified that at Mr. Fitzgerald’s request, she went back and found notes of the June 23 meeting and then described it in a later grand jury appearance.

Mr. Jeffress asked her multiple times about her memory of the June 23 meeting and her memory in general.

In his most telling foray, Mr. Jeffress asked how she could testify that Mr. Libby was agitated on June 23 when she couldn’t even remember the meeting in her first grand jury testimony. He played a tape of a broadcast interview in which she had said “it’s really easy to forget details of a story you’re not writing.” She testified that she never intended to write a story about Mrs. Plame.

Mrs. Miller mostly held firm. Acknowledging her memory “is mostly note-driven,” she insisted that rereading the notes brought “back these memories” of the June 23 meeting.

Earlier yesterday, David Addington, who was Mr. Cheney’s legal counsel during the CIA-leak controversy, described a discussion with Mr. Libby in September 2003 around the time the leak investigation began.

“I just want to tell you, I didn’t do it,” Mr. Addington recalled Mr. Libby saying. “I didn’t ask what the ‘it’ was,” Mr. Addington added.

Mr. Fitzgerald hopes Mr. Addington’s testimony will bolster his argument that Mr. Libby was worried about whether his conversations with reporters were improper.

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