CIA leak grand jury investigation
(related to the
"CIA leak scandal
", also known as
the "Plame affair
") was a federal
inquiry "into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) employee's identity," a possible violation of criminal
statutes, including the Intelligence Identities
, and Title 18,
United States Code
"CIA leak scandal" ("Plame affair")
"CIA leak scandal", or the Plame affair", refers to a dispute stemming
from allegations that one or more White House officials revealed Valerie
Plame Wilson's covert
CIA identity as "Valerie
Plame" to reporters.
In his July 14, 2003 newspaper column, Robert Novak
revealed the name of CIA employee
, wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV
, who had covert status,
Wilson, a former U.S. Ambassador
criticized the Bush
in a July 6, 2003, editorial in The New York Times
. Wilson argued that the
Bush Administration misrepresented intelligence prior to the 2003
invasion of Iraq.
his column, Novak diminished Wilson’s claims:
Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie
Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass
Two senior administration officials told me
Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to
1, 2003, Richard Armitage told both Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) that he "was the inadvertent leak".
Appointment of Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald
September 26, 2003, at the request of the CIA, the Department of
Justice and the FBI began a criminal investigation into the
possible unauthorized disclosure of classified information
regarding Valerie Wilson’s CIA affiliation to various reporters in
the spring of 2003.
initially headed up the
investigation. On August 13, 2005 journalist Murray Waas reported
that Justice Department and FBI officials had recommended
appointing a special prosecutor to the case because they felt that
Rove had not been truthful in early interviews, withholding from
FBI investigators his conversation with Cooper about Plame and
maintaining that he had first learned of Plame's CIA identity from
a journalist whose name Rove could not recall. In addition,
then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, from whose prior campaigns
Rove had been paid $746,000 in consulting fees, had been briefed on
the contents of at least one of Rove's interviews with the FBI,
raising concerns of a conflict of interest. An October 2, 2003
New York Times
article similarly connected Karl Rove
to the matter and highlighted his prior
employment in three previous political campaigns for Ashcroft.
Ashcroft subsequently recused himself from the investigation,
apparently at the end of December 2003.
U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald
was appointed Special
Counsel on December 30, 2003 ( Comey names Fitzgerald
Letter from James B. Comey, Acting Attorney General, to Patrick J.
Fitzgerald, United States Attorney:
By the authority vested in the Attorney General by law,
including 28 U.S.C.
509, 510, and 515, and in my capacity as Acting
Attorney General pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
508, I hereby delegate to you all the authority of the
Attorney General with respect to the Department's investigation
into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's
identity, and I direct you to exercise that authority as Special
Counsel independent of the supervision or control of any officer of
Fitzgerald began investigations into the leak working from White
House telephone records turned over to the FBI in October
Fitzgerald learned of Armitage's role in the leak "shortly after
his appointment in 2003". 
The first grand jury
On October 31, 2003, a grand jury
sworn in and began taking testimony. A complete list of witnesses
to testify there is not known, in part because Fitzgerald has
conducted his investigation with much more discretion than previous
Some individuals have acknowledged giving testimony, including
White House Press
Secretary Scott McClellan
Deputy Press Secretary Claire Buchan
former press secretary Ari Fleischer
former special advisor to the president Karen Hughes
, former White House communications
aide Adam Levine
, former advisor
to the Vice President Mary Matalin
former Secretary of State Colin
Fitzgerald interviewed both Vice President Dick Cheney
and President George W. Bush
but not separately and not under oath.
Legal filings by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald contain many
pages blanked out for security reasons, leading some observers to
speculate that Fitzgerald has pursued the extent to which national
security was compromised by Plame's identity being revealed.
In March 2004, the Special Counsel subpoenaed
the telephone records of Air Force One
Known grand jury witnesses
White House Press Office
Other government officials
Journalists and contempt of court
Several journalists have testified on this matter.
Columnist Robert Novak, who later admitted that the CIA attempted
to dissuade him from revealing Plame's name in print, "appears to
have made some kind of arrangement with the special prosecutor"
(according to Newsweek
) and he has not been charged with
contempt of court.
On July 2, 2005, Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin
, said that his client spoke to
reporter Matt Cooper "three or four days" before
Plame's identity was first revealed in print by commentator
. (Cooper's article in
, citing unnamed and anonymous "government officials,"
confirmed Plame to be a "CIA official who monitors the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." Cooper's article
appeared three days after Novak's column was published.) Rove's
lawyer, however, asserted that Rove "never knowingly disclosed
classified information" and that "he did not tell any reporter that
Valerie Plame worked for the CIA." This second statement has since
been called into question by an e-mail, written three days before
Novak's column, in which Cooper indicated that Rove had told him
Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. If Rove were aware that this was
classified information at the time, then both disclaimers by his
lawyer would be untrue. Furthermore, Luskin said that Rove himself
had testified before the grand jury "two or three times" (three
times, according to the Los Angeles Times
of July 3, 2005)
and signed a waiver authorizing reporters to testify about their
conversations with him and that Rove "has answered every question
that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and
anybody else." Rove's lawyer declined to share with
the nature or contents of his client's conversations
On July 6, 2005, Cooper agreed to testify, thus avoiding being held
in contempt of court
and sent to
jail. Cooper said "I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions for
not testifying," but told the judge that not long before his early
afternoon appearance at court he had received "in somewhat dramatic
fashion" an indication from his source freeing him from his
commitment to keep his source's identity secret. For some observers
this called into question the allegations against Rove, who had
signed a waiver months before permitting reporters to testify about
their conversations with him (see above paragraph).
Cooper, however, stated in court that he did not previously accept
a general waiver to journalists signed by his source (whom he did
not identify by name), because he had made a personal pledge of
confidentiality to his source. The 'dramatic change' which allowed
Cooper to testify was later revealed to be a phone conversation
between lawyers for Cooper and his source confirming that the
waiver signed two years earlier applied to conversations with
Cooper. Citing a "person who has been officially briefed on the
case," The New York Times
identified Rove as the
individual in question, a fact later confirmed by Rove's own
lawyer. According to one of Cooper's lawyers, Cooper has previously
testified before the grand jury regarding conversations with
Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr.
, chief of
staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, after having received Libby's
specific permission to testify.
Cooper testified before a grand jury on July 13, 2005, confirming
that Rove was the source who told him Wilson's wife was an employee
of the CIA. In the July 17, 2005 TIME Magazine
detailing his grand jury testimony, Cooper wrote that Rove never
used Plame's name nor indicated that she had covert status,
although Rove did apparently convey that certain information
relating to her was classified: "As for Wilson's wife, I told the
grand jury I was certain that Rove never used her name and that,
indeed, I did not learn her name until the following week, when I
either saw it in Robert Novak's column or Googled her, I can't
recall which,...[but] was it through my conversation with Rove that
I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the
C.I.A. and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove
say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'W.M.D.'? Yes. When he said
things would be declassified soon, was that itself impermissible? I
don't know. Is any of this a crime? Beats me." Cooper also
explained to the grand jury that the "double super secret
background" under which Rove spoke to him was not an official White
House or TIME Magazine
source or security designation, but
an allusion to the 1978 film Animal
, in which a college fraternity is placed under
"double secret probation."
New York Times
investigative reporter Judith Miller
, who met with Lewis
Libby on July 8, 2003, two days after Wilson's editorial was
published, never wrote or reported a story on the Plame affair, but
nevertheless refused (with Cooper) to answer questions before a
grand jury in 2004 pertaining to confidential sources. Both
reporters were held in contempt of court. On June 27, 2005,
after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant certiorari, TIME Magazine said it would
surrender to Fitzgerald e-mail records and notes taken by Cooper,
and Cooper agreed to testify before the grand jury after receiving
a waiver from his source.
Miller and Cooper faced potential
jail terms for failure to cooperate with the Special Counsel's
New York Times
civil contempt jail sentence from early July 2005 to September 29,
2005, for refusing to testify to the grand jury.
jailed on July 7, 2005, in the same Alexandria, Virginia facility as Zacarias
She was released on September 29, upon
reaching an agreement with Fitzgerald to testify at a hearing
scheduled on the morning of September 30, 2005. Miller indicated
that her source, unlike Cooper's, had not sufficiently waived
confidentiality. She issued a statement at a press conference after
her release, stating that her source, Lewis
, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, had
released her from her promise of confidentiality, saying her source
"voluntarily and personally released [her] from [her] promise of
In August 2005 the American Prospect
that Lewis Libby testified he had discussed Plame with Miller
during a July 8, 2003, meeting. Libby signed a general waiver
allowing journalists to reveal their discussions with him on this
matter, but American Prospect
reported that Miller refused
to honor this waiver on the grounds that she considered it coerced.
Miller had said she would accept a specific individual waiver to
testify, but contends Libby had not given her one until late
September 2005. In contrast, Libby's lawyer has insisted that he
had fully released Miller to testify all along.
On October 16, 2005, Judith Miller published an account of her
grand jury testimony for the New York
. In the article, titled "My Four Hours Testifying in
the Federal Grand Jury Room"
, Miller writes:
My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published
his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have
worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.
My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr.
Wilson's wife by name.
Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a
covert agent or "operative," as the conservative columnist Robert
Novak first described her in a syndicated column
published on July 14, 2003.
(Mr. Novak used her maiden name, Valerie
My interview notes show that Mr. Libby sought from the
beginning, before Mr. Wilson's name became public, to insulate his
boss from Mr. Wilson's charges.
According to my notes, he told me at our June meeting
that Mr. Cheney did not know of Mr. Wilson, much less know that Mr.
Wilson had traveled to Niger, in West Africa, to verify reports
that Iraq was seeking to acquire uranium for a weapons
Although I was interested primarily in my area of
expertise — chemical and biological weapons — my notes show that
Mr. Libby consistently steered our conversation back to the
administration's nuclear claims.
His main theme echoed that of other senior officials:
that contrary to Mr. Wilson's criticism, the administration had had
ample reason to be concerned about Iraq's nuclear capabilities
based on the regime's history of weapons development, its use of
unconventional weapons and fresh intelligence reports.
At that breakfast meeting, our conversation also turned
to Mr. Wilson's wife.
My notes contain a phrase inside parentheses: "Wife
works at Winpac."
Mr. Fitzgerald asked what that meant.
Winpac stood for Weapons Intelligence,
Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control, the name of a unit within the
C.I.A. that, among other things, analyzes the spread of
I said I couldn't be certain whether I had known Ms.
Plame's identity before this meeting, and I had no clear memory of
the context of our conversation that resulted in this
But I told the grand jury that I believed that this was
the first time I had heard that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for
In fact, I told the grand jury that when Mr. Libby
indicated that Ms. Plame worked for Winpac, I assumed that she
worked as an analyst, not as an undercover
Mr. Fitzgerald asked me about another entry in my
notebook, where I had written the words "Valerie Flame," clearly a
reference to Ms. Plame.
Mr. Fitzgerald wanted to know whether the entry was
based on my conversations with Mr. Libby.
I said I didn't think so.
I said I believed the information came from another
source, whom I could not recall.
The investigation expands to perjury and obstruction
On May 13, 2005, citing "close followers of the case," The
reported that the length of the investigation,
and the particular importance paid to the testimony of reporters,
suggested that the counsel's role had expanded to include
investigation of perjury charges against witnesses. Other observers
have suggested that the testimony of journalists
was needed to show a pattern of
by the leaker or leakers.
On October 6, 2005, Fitzgerald recalled Karl Rove, for the fourth
time, to take the stand before the grand jury investigating the
leak of Plame's identity. Fitzgerald had indicated that the only
remaining witnesses to call were Cooper and Miller before he would
close his case.
Indictment of Libby
On October 28, 2005, the grand jury issued a five-count indictment
(PDF) against Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of
Staff, on felony
charges of perjury
, obstruction of justice
, and making false statements
to the FBI
and the grand jury investigating the matter.
Libby was charged with lying to FBI agents and to the grand jury
about two conversations with reporters, Tim Russert of NBC News and
Matt Cooper of Time
magazine. According to the Indictment,
the obstruction of justice count alleges that while testifying
under oath before the grand jury on March 5, and March 24, 2004,
Libby knowingly and corruptly endeavored to influence, obstruct and
impede the grand jury’s investigation by misleading and deceiving
the grand jury as to when, and the manner and means by which, he
acquired, and subsequently disclosed to the media, information
concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the CIA.
From January 20, 2001, to October 28, 2005, Libby served as
Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff
to the Vice
President, and Assistant to the Vice President for National
Security Affairs. After the indictment was released to the public,
Libby resigned his position in the White House.
On November 3, 2005, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby entered a not guilty
plea in front of U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, a former
prosecutor who has spent two decades as a judge in the nation's
United States v. Libby
The second grand jury
The first grand jury's term expired on October 28, the day it
indicted Libby. On November 18, 2005, Fitzgerald submitted new
court papers indicating that he would use a new grand jury to
assist him in his ongoing investigation. The use of a new grand
jury could indicate that additional evidence or charges are coming,
but experienced federal prosecutors cautioned against reading too
much into Fitzgerald's disclosure:
"It could just mean that the prosecutor needs the powers of the
grand jury" to further his investigation and make a final
determination whether to charge, said Dan French, a former federal
prosecutor now representing a witness in the inquiry.
"One of the greatest powers of the grand jury is the ability to
witnesses … and Fitzgerald
may want that authority to pursue
additional questions," French said. He might also need subpoenas to
obtain documents, telephone records and executive branch agency
After a six week break, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald
presented information to a new grand jury on December 8,
Due to the huge amount of classified material that had been
requested by Libby's defense, David Corn
speculated that Libby was using Graymail
defense tactic. Libby had added the graymail expert John D. Cline
to his defense team.
In December 2005, Patrick Fitzgerald responded to a motion by Dow
Jones & Company, Inc., to unseal all or part of the redacted
portion of a United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia opinion issued on February 15, 2005. The opinion pertained
to oral arguments held on December 8, 2004. The opinion of the
court was released on February 3, 2006, to the public. It states:
As to the leaks’ harmfulness, although the record omits
specifics about Plame’s work, it appears to confirm, as alleged in
the public record and reported in the press, that she worked for
the CIA in some unusual capacity relating to
Addressing deficiencies of proof regarding the
Intelligence Identities Protection Act, the special counsel refers
to Plame as “a person whose identity the CIA was making specific
efforts to conceal and who had carried out covert work overseas
within the last 5 years” — representations I trust the special
counsel would not make without support.
(8/27/04 Aff. at 28 n.15.),
On January 31, 2006, letters exchanged between Libby's lawyers and
Fitzgerald's office concerning matters of discovery were released
to the public. Reportedly, Fitzgerald states:
"A formal assessment has not been done of the damage
caused by the disclosure of Valerie Wilson’s status as a CIA
employee, and thus we possess no such document.
In any event, we would not view an assessment of the
damage caused by the disclosure as relevant to the issue of whether
or not Mr. Libby intentionally lied when he made the statements and
gave the grand jury testimony which the grand jury alleged was
On March 17, 2006, Patrick Fitzgerald filed the government's
response to a motion by Scooter Libby's defense team 
to dismiss the indictments. "Government's Response to Motion to Dismiss"
United States Department of Justice March 17, 2003.
On April 5, 2006, Patrick Fitzgerald filed the government's
response to a motion by Scooter Libby's defense team
on issues of discovery. On April 12, 2006,
Fitzgerald issued a correction to some of the information in the
government's motion. In the memo, he writes:
Nor would such documents of the CIA, NSC and the State
Department place in context the importance of the conversations in
which defendant participated.
Defendant’s participation in a critical conversation
with Judith Miller on July 8 (discussed further below) occurred
only after the Vice President advised defendant that the President
specifically had authorized defendant to disclose certain
information in the NIE.
Defendant testified that the circumstances of his
conversation with reporter Miller — getting approval from the
President through the Vice President to discuss material that would
be classified but for that approval — were unique in his
Defendant further testified that on July 12, 2003, he
was specifically directed by the Vice President to speak to the
press in place of Cathie Martin (then the communications person for
the Vice President) regarding the NIE and Wilson.
Defendant was instructed to provide what was for him an
extremely rare “on the record” statement, and to provide
“background” and “deep background” statements, and to provide
information contained in a document defendant understood to be the
cable authored by Mr. Wilson.
During the conversations that followed on July 12,
defendant discussed Ms. Wilson’s employment with both Matthew
Cooper (for the first time) and Judith Miller (for the third
Even if someone else in some other agency thought that
the controversy about Mr. Wilson and/or his wife was a trifle, that
person’s state of mind would be irrelevant to the importance and
focus defendant placed on the matter and the importance he attached
to the surrounding conversations he was directed to engage in by
the Vice President.
Karl Rove testified before the new grand jury for the fifth time in
the case on April 26, 2006, and, on June 12, 2006, his attorney
stated that Rove had been formally notified by Fitzgerald that Rove
would not be charged with any crimes.
According to Mike Allen, in Time
, Rove's attorney Robert D. Luskin
told reporters that he received a
fax from Fitzgerald indicating that "absent any unexpected
developments, he does not anticipate seeking any criminal charges
against Rove." John Solomon of Associated Press
reported that the news
came by telephone rather than fax. The New York Times
reported that the news
was announced by Fitzgerald "in a letter to Mr. Luskin." Luskin's
own public statement indicated only that he was "formally advised"
of this news by Fitzgerald, and Luskin's office has so far refused
to comment further on that statement.
In a court filing on May 12, 2006, Fitzgerald included a copy of
Wilson's op-ed article in the New York Times
handwritten notations by the vice president" (See
photograph).Fitzgerald's filing declares that Libby ascertained
Plame's name from Cheney through conferences by the vice
president's office about "how to respond to a June 2003 inquiry
from Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus about Wilson's trip to
Niger". In the filing, Fitzgerald states:
The June 12, 2003, Washington Post article by Mr.
Pincus (to whom both Mr. Wilson and the defendant spoke prior to
publication of the article) is relevant because Mr. Pincus’
questions to the OVP sparked discussion within the OVP, including
conversations between the defendant and the Vice President
regarding how Mr. Pincus’ questions should be
It was during a conversation concerning Mr. Pincus’
inquiries that the Vice President advised the defendant that Mr.
Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA.
(To be clear, the government does not contend that the
defendant disclosed the employment of Ms. Plame to Mr. Pincus, and
Mr. Pincus’s article contains no reference to her or her
employment.) The article by Mr. Pincus thus explains the context in
which the defendant discussed Mr. Wilson’s wife’s employment with
the Vice President.
The article also served to increase media attention
concerning the then-unnamed ambassador’s trip and further motivated
the defendant to counter Mr. Wilson’s assertions, making it more
likely that the defendant’s disclosures to the press concerning Mr.
Wilson’s wife were not casual disclosures that he had forgotten by
the time he was asked about them by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and before the grand jury.
Fitzgerald sought to compel Matt Cooper, a Time Magazine
correspondent who had
covered the story, to disclose his sources to a grand jury. After
losing all legal appeals up through the Supreme Court,
turned over Cooper's notes to the prosecutor. Cooper
agreed to testify after receiving permission from his source, Karl
Rove, to do so. Robert Luskin confirmed Rove was Cooper's source. A
July 11, 2003, e-mail
from Cooper to his
bureau chief indicated that Rove had told Cooper that it was
Wilson's wife who authorized her husband's trip to Niger,
mentioning that she "apparently" worked at "the agency" on weapons of mass destruction
reported that nothing in the Cooper
e-mail suggested that Rove used Plame's name or knew she was a
covert operative, although Cooper's Time
describing his grand jury testimony noted that Rove said, "I've
already said too much." Neither Newsweek
released the complete Cooper e-mail.
On May 16, 2006, a transcript of court proceedings before Judge
Reggie B. Walton was released. Libby's lawyers sought
communications between Matthew Cooper and Massimo Calabresi,
authors of an article published by Time magazine on July 17, 2003,
and titled, "A War on Wilson?" Libby's lawyers contend that Massimo
called Joe Wilson after Cooper learned from Karl Rove that Wilson's
wife worked at the CIA. Libby's lawyers also told the judge they
have an e-mail Cooper sent to his editor describing a July 12,
2003, conversation with Libby in which there is no mention of Plame
or her CIA status. An e-mail was sent to Cooper's editor on July
16, 2003, "four days after his conversation with Mr. Libby and 5
days after his conversation with Mr. Rove, about the article they
are planning to write in which they are going to mention the wife.
And the e-mail says — talks about him having an administration
source for the information about Ms. Wilson." Thus, Libby's lawyers
sought communications between Massimo and Cooper to determine if
Cooper conveyed to Massimo that Libby was a source as well for the
information on Wilson's wife:
And I submit to Your Honor there is — as you can see,
the credibility of Mr. Cooper with respect to his description that
Mr. Libby confirmed M[s].
Plame's employment by the C.I.A. is going to be very
much at issue in this case.
And that is what cases are all about, and we should be
entitled to anything that Mr. Cooper has said ro that others have
said or done, such as Mr. Massimo talking to Mr. Wilson on the
basis of what Cooper said.
And that kind of information is directly relevant to
the cross-examination, and we submit that it should be
And certainly we have established specificity with
respec to that.
The other thing I would say is this is the first I have
heard that Time has a document that refers to Ms.
Now, perhaps, that's Mr. Copper's communication with
Mr. Massimo, or perhaps it is Mr. Massimo's notes with Mr.
I don't know, but certainly if there is a document that
does refer to Ms. Plame prior to July 14, we submit that that's
relevant and should be produced as well.
That's all I have on Time and Cooper, Your
On May 26, 2006, Judge Walton ruled on the motion:
However, upon reviewing the documents presented to it,
the Court discerns a slight alteration between the several drafts
of the articles, which the defense could arguably use to impeach
This slight alteration between the drafts will permit
the defendant to impeach Cooper, regardless of the substance of his
trial testimony, because his trial testimony cannot be consistent
with both versions.
Thus, unlike Miller, whose documents appear internally
consistent and thus will only be admissible if she testifies
inconsistently with these documents, Cooper’s documents will
undoubtedly be admissible.
Because of the inevitability that Cooper will be a
government witness at trial, this Court can fathom no reason to
delay the production of these documents to the defendant, as they
will undoubtedly be admissible for impeachment.
For the reasons discussed above, this Court will grant
reporter Judith Miller’s motion to quash, and grant in part and
deny in part the remaining motions.
Therefore, at the appropriate times as designated in
this opinion, those documents subject to production must be
produced to the defendant so that they can be used as impeachment
or contradiction evidence during the trial.
In addition, based on the facts of this case, this
Court declines to recognize a First Amendment reporters’
And, the Court concludes that any common law reporters’
privilege that may exist has been overcome by the
Richard Armitage is confirmed to be primary source of leak
On August 29, 2006, Neil A. Lewis
reported in The New York Times
that Richard Armitage
has been confirmed to be the first and primary source of the CIA
leak investigation.On August 30, 2006, CNN reported that Armitage
had been confirmed "by sources" as leaking Valerie Plame's role as
a CIA operative in a "casual conversation" with Robert Novak
On September 6, 2006, The New York Times
noted that in
2003, early in his investigation, Fitzgerald knew Armitage was the
primary source of the leak. The Times
raised questions as
to why the investigation proceeded as long as it did. New York Times
According to lawyers close to Libby, "the information about Mr.
Armitage’s role may help Mr. Libby convince a jury that his actions
were relatively inconsequential."
Fitzgerald has issued no statement about Armitage's
The trial began on January 16, 2007.
Libby, who was questioned by the FBI in the fall of 2003 and
testified before a Federal grand jury on March 5, 2004, and again
on March 24, 2004, has pleaded not guilty to all charges. David
Addington, Cheney's legal counsel during the CIA leak scandal,
testified in January 2007 that Libby bluntly told him, "I just want
to tell you, I didn't do it."
Libby retains attorney Ted Wells
firm of Paul, Weiss,
Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
to represent him in the case.
Wells is known for successfully defending Clinton Secretary of
Agriculture Mike Espy
30-count indictment and participating in the successful defense of
former Secretary of
Labor Raymond Donovan
On January 23, 2007, the Associated
reported that Wells alleged "that administration
officials sought to blame Libby for the leak to protect Bush
political adviser Karl Rove's own disclosures."
After Libby's motion to dismiss
was denied, the press initially reported that he would testify at
the trial. In February 2007, during the trial, however, numerous
press reports stressed that whether or not he will testify was
still uncertain, and, ultimately, he did not testify at
The jury received the case for their deliberation on February 21,
After deliberating for ten days, the jury rendered its verdict at
noon on March 6, 2007. It convicted Libby on four of the five
counts against him — two counts of perjury, one count of
obstructing justice in a grand jury investigation, and one of the
two counts of making false statements to federal investigators —
and acquitted him on one count of making false statements. Given
current federal sentencing guidelines, which are not mandatory, the
convictions could result in a sentence ranging from no imprisonment
to imprisonment of up to 25 years and a fine of one million US
dollars. Given those non-binding guidelines, according to lawyer,
author, New Yorker
staff writer, and CNN
senior legal analyst
on Anderson Cooper 360°
, such a
sentence could likely be between "one and a half to three years."
Sentencing was scheduled for June 2007. His lawyers have announced
their intention to seek a new trial and, if that attempt fails, to
appeal Libby's conviction.
Comment on the verdict by juror
As reported in CNN Newsroom
and subsequently on Larry King
on CNN and by various other television networks,
(on Scarborough Country
), one juror —
, a Washington resident
and self-described registered Democrat", who is a journalist and
former reporter at The
and the author of a book on espionage and
a novel — "said he and fellow jurors found that passing judgment on
Libby was 'unpleasant.' But in the final analysis, he said jurors
found Libby's story just too hard to believe... 'We're not saying
we didn't think Mr. Libby was guilty of the things we found him
guilty of, but it seemed like ... he was the fall guy'... Collins
said the jury believed Libby was 'tasked by the vice president to
go and talk to reporters.'" Collins offers a day-by-day account of
his experience as Juror #9 at the Libby trial in an "Exclusive" at
Press coverage of the trial
have played a prominent role in the
press coverage of this trial. Scott Shane, in his article "For
Liberal Bloggers, Libby Trial Is Fun and Fodder", published in
The New York Times
February 15, 2007, quotes Robert Cox
president of the Media
, who observes that United States of
America v. I. Lewis Libby is "the first federal case for which
independent bloggers have been given official credentials along
with reporters from the traditional news media."
On June 13, 2006, Robert Luskin
released the following statement:
"On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald
formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges
against Karl Rove.In deference to the pending case, we will not
make any further public statements about the subject matter of the
We believe that the Special Counsel's decision should
put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove’s
On June 14, 2006, Joe Wilson responded to Luskin's statement by
stating that "this is a marathon... it's not over." He referred
other questions to a statement released by his lawyer, Christopher
Wolf. In the statement, Wolf stated that "while it appears that Mr.
Rove will not be called to answer in criminal court for his
participation in the wrongful disclosure of Valerie Wilson's
classified employment status at the CIA, that obviously does not
end the matter. The day still may come when Mr. Rove and others are
called to account in a court of law for their attacks on the
Following the revelations in the Libby indictment, sixteen former
CIA and military intelligence officials urged President Bush to
suspend Karl Rove's security clearance for his part in outing CIA
officer Valerie Plame.
Media request CIA to unseal records
On December 22, 2006, the Associated Press reported that AP and Dow
Jones, parent company of the Wall Street Journal
, have requested
a federal court to force the CIA to release testimony records. The
AP and Dow Jones allege that special prosecutor Fitzgerald never
needed to subpoena the media's records, including those of the
New York Times
and Washington Post
, because he
knew the source of the leak all along.
Because the Justice Department is a part of the executive branch
, some critics of the Bush
Administration contend that the absence of rapid and effective
action has been deliberate.
General Paul E. Vallely
has criticized Special Counsel
on FOX News
for not contacting a number of people who publicly stated they knew
of Plame's job at the CIA.
"Many of us as private citizens really challenged the
depth and the extensiveness of Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald
because he never called in Joe Wilson or Valerie Plame, who was an
analyst by the way, and that's documented, or any of the hierarchy
of the CIA.
And so to me that's an incomplete process and should
probably be null and void."
General Vallely has been criticized by some for allegedly lying
about his part in the affair. Vallely has claimed that Joe Wilson
informed him that his wife was a
covert agent, but did not reveal this until more than two years
after the fact, and a year and a half after the investigation had
An editorial in the Washington Post
The special counsel was principally investigating
whether any official violated a law that makes it a crime to
knowingly disclose the identity of an undercover
The public record offers no indication that Mr. Libby
or any other official deliberately exposed Ms. Plame to punish her
husband, former ambassador Joseph C.
Rather, Mr. Libby and other officials, including Karl
Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, apparently were
seeking to combat the sensational allegations of a
They may have believed that Ms. Plame's involvement was
an important part of their story of why Mr. Wilson was sent to
investigate claims that Iraq sought uranium ore from Niger, and why
his subsequent — and mostly erroneous — allegations that the
administration twisted that small part of the case against Saddam
Hussein should not be credited.
To criminalize such discussions between officials and
reporters would run counter to the public interest...
That said, the charges Mr. Fitzgerald brought against
Mr. Libby are not technicalities.
According to the indictment, Mr. Libby lied to both the
FBI and a grand jury.
No responsible prosecutor would overlook a pattern of
deceit like that alleged by Mr. Fitzgerald.
The prosecutor was asked to investigate a serious
question, and such obstructions are, as he said yesterday, like
throwing sand in the umpire's face.
In this case, they seem to have contributed to Mr.
Fitzgerald's distressing decision to force a number of journalists
to testify about conversations with a confidential
Both Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove appear to have allowed the
White House spokesman to put out false information about their
John W. Dean
, the former counsel to Richard Nixon
, writes in an open letter to
In your post as Special
Counsel, you now have nothing less than authority of the
of the United States, for purposes of the investigation and
prosecution of "the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA
(The employee, of course, is Valerie Plame Wilson, a
CIA employee with classified status, and the wife of former
Ambassador Joseph Wilson.) On December 30, 2003, you received a
letter from the Deputy Attorney General regarding your
On February 6, 2004, you received a letter of further
clarification, stating without reservation, that in this matter
your powers are "plenary."
In effect, then, you act with the power of the Attorney
General of the United States.
In light of your broad powers, the limits and narrow focus of your
investigation are surprising. On October 28 of this year, your
office released a press statement in which you stated that "A major
focus of the grand jury investigation was to determine which
government officials had disclosed to the media prior to July 14,
2003, information concerning Valerie Wilson's CIA affiliation, and
the nature, timing, extent, and purpose of such disclosures, as
well as whether any official made such a disclosure knowing that
Valerie Wilson's employment by the CIA was classified
Troubling, from an historical point of view, is the fact that the
narrowness of your investigation, which apparently is focusing on
Identities Protection Act
(making it a crime to uncover the
covert status of a CIA agent), plays right into the hands of
perpetrators in the Administration.
Indeed, this is exactly the plan that was employed during Watergate
by those who sought to conceal the Nixon
Administration's crimes, and keep criminals in office.
The plan was to keep the investigation focused on the break-in at
the Democratic National
headquarters — and away from the atmosphere in which
such an action was undertaken. Toward this end, I was directed by
superiors to get the Department of Justice to keep its focus on the
break-in, and nothing else.
That was done. And had Congress
not undertaken its own
investigation (since it was a Democratically-controlled Congress
with a Republican President) it is very likely that Watergate would
have ended with the conviction of those caught in the bungled
burglary and wiretapping attempt at the Democratic
Attorneys of record
Judges, special counsel attorneys, and courthouses
Special Counsel Office Attorneys
- Patrick Fitzgerald, Special
Counsel, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
- Debra Riggs Bonamici,
Deputy Special Counsel, from US Attorney's Office, Northern
District of Illinois
- Kathleen Kedian, Deputy Special
Counsel, from the U.S Department of Justice, Washington DC
- James Fleissner, Deputy Special
Counsel, Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Ron Roos, Deputy Special Counsel, DoJ
prosecutor — National Security Section.
- Peter Zeidenberg, Deputy
Special Counsel, DoJ prosecutor — Public Integrity Section.
Location of CIA leak grand jury
As of March 1, 2007, a feature film based on the lives of Valerie
Plame and Joseph Wilson is under development at Warner Brothers
Another film closely paralleling the case is Nothing But the
, directed by Rod Lurie
starring Kate Beckinsale
reporter who is imprisoned for revealing the identity of a CIA
agent (played by Vera Farmiga
), but not
the sources of her information. The movie is currently scheduled
for release on September 19
- Bush, George W.. State of the Union Address. Online
posting. Official website of The White
House, January 28, 2003.
- The New York Times,
comp. Key Documents. New
York Times. n.d. Accessed January 14,
- Novak, Robert. Robert
Novak's column in the Chicago
Sun Times (Index). Accessed January 14, 2007.
- . Online posting. Official website of the
States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, July 7,
2004. [Outdated link.] News archive link at iwar.org.uk:
. (521 pages.)
- Jordan, Sandra. "The Devil in the Details: The CIA Leak Case."
of Pittsburgh School of Law), October 31, 2005. Accessed
January 14, 2007.
- Waas, Murray. "Online Exclusive: CIA Leak Probe: Inside The Grand Jury
CIA Leak Case." National
Journal, January 12, 2007. Accessed January 14, 2007.
- Wilson, Joseph C. "Administration Went After Me and My Wife."
The Miami Herald, May 2,
2004. Rpt. in Common Dreams
NewsCenter, May 2, 2004. Accessed January 14, 2007.
United States Courts