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More Allegations of Libby Lies Revealed
The information gives a fuller picture of the case that Fitzgerald will likely put on against Libby. Yesterday, a federal judge scheduled his trial to start on Jan. 8, 2007.
In public remarks about the indictment, Fitzgerald has accused Libby of lying when he said that he believed he first learned of Plame from NBC reporter Tim Russert and passed along that information strictly as unverified gossip to Miller and Cooper.
Tatel's opinion also includes previously unknown details about testimony by Libby and other officials. For example, Libby acknowledged to investigators that Cheney told him in mid-June 2003 about Plame's CIA role and said she helped send her husband on a mission to Niger to determine whether Iraq was seeking nuclear material from the African nation.
That was soon after a Washington Post article on Wilson's Niger trip appeared. Libby emphasized in his testimony that Cheney only said it "in an off sort of curiosity sort of fashion."
Fitzgerald also contended that Libby lied to the grand jury when he said he never mentioned Plame or her CIA job to Fleischer when they had lunch on July 7. Fleischer recalled before the grand jury that Libby did mention Plame and said she worked in the "counterproliferation area of the CIA." Fleischer said Libby stressed that "the vice president did not send Ambassador Wilson to Niger . . . the CIA sent Ambassador Wilson to Niger . . . he was sent by his wife."
Fleischer added that he thought the lunch was "kind of weird" because the normally "closed-lip" Libby was sharing confidences and remarking that the information was "hush-hush" and "on the q.t."
Libby was also asked about two July conversations he had with Miller. He said he never mentioned Wilson's wife to Miller in the first conversation but passed along some information another reporter told him about Plame in the second, according to the documents.
Miller testified last year, however, that she thought Libby was the first government official to mention Wilson's wife to her and that he did so in three conversations: on June 23, when she visited his office in the Executive Office Building, and on July 8 and 12.