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Cheney to Face Nats Fans

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Here's the Nationals press release: "Marking the start of the Nationals' second season, Vice President Cheney continues the Washington baseball tradition, dating to 1910, when a president or vice president has thrown the ceremonial first pitch.

"The first vice president to toss the pitch was Charles Dawes in 1926. The last vice president to do the honors was Hubert Humphrey in 1968."

Of course, Cheney's presence rather than Bush's raises a singular new question: Will he bean someone by mistake?

Fitzgerald Lets Loose

Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald late yesterday filed a response to a motion by Scooter Libby's defense team, and it contains a shocker.

Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun was first out of the gates this morning. (In fact, as of this writing, none of the major news outlets has published a word on the subject.)

Gerstein writes that according to the filing, Libby "testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded 'National Intelligence Estimate' on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush."

As Gerstein explains: "[T]he new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter."

That reporter, of course, was Judith Miller.

Here's an excerpt from Fitzgerald's filing: "Defendant testified that he was specifically authorized in advance of the meeting to disclose the key judgments of the classified NIE to Miller on that occasion because it was thought that the NIE was 'pretty definitive' against what Ambassador Wilson had said and that the vice president thought that it was 'very important' for the key judgments of the NIE to come out."

Gerstein writes: "Mr. Libby is said to have testified that 'at first' he rebuffed Mr. Cheney's suggestion to release the information because the estimate was classified. However, according to the vice presidential aide, Mr. Cheney subsequently said he got permission for the release directly from Mr. Bush. 'Defendant testified that the vice president later advised him that the president had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE,' the prosecution filing said."

Fitzgerald's filing also "quotes from handwritten suggestions Mr. Libby gave to the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, urging the spokesman to proclaim the vice presidential aide's innocence with the same vigor that the press secretary previously denounced as 'ridiculous' suggestions that Mr. Rove might have had a hand in leaking Ms. Plame's identity.

"Mr. Libby's note, as typed up by the prosecution, reads like a stanza of verse:


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