Friday, January 27, 2006
WaPo: Libby goes for reporters' notes on Plame
By Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post Staff Writer - Friday, page A04
Attorneys for Vice President Cheney's former top aide urged a court yesterday to force prosecutors to turn over all the information they obtained from reporters about their confidential conversations with Bush administration sources in the course of a two-year CIA leak investigation.
Attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said they must cast a wide net to learn about any conversations regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame (seen with her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, right), and that the information could be crucial to Libby's defense against perjury and obstruction charges. In court papers, the lawyers said they will probably subpoena reporters and officials later to thoroughly investigate how widely Plame's identity was known before her name appeared in the news media in July 2003.
Libby was indicted by Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald on five felony counts of lying to the FBI and a grand jury. The indictment asserted that Libby leaked information about Plame's CIA role to two reporters but pretended he had learned the information from Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News, and that he passed it along as unverified reporter chatter.
The defense's goal is to show that Libby was not intentionally lying when he testified that many journalists had known about Plame during the spring and summer of 2003, and that he believed he had learned about her from Russert. "There can be no information more material to the defense of a perjury case than information tending to show that the alleged false statements are, in fact, true or that they could be the result of mistake or confusion," the lawyers argued in their filing. "Libby is entitled to know what the government knows."
Fitzgerald began investigating in early 2004 whether administration officials broke the law and leaked information about Plame as retaliation. Her name and CIA role appeared in a July 2003 syndicated column by Robert D. Novak -- eight days after Plame's husband, former ambassador Wilson, publicly criticized the Bush administration's justification for waging war with Iraq.
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