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Plamegate: Ex-Aide to Cheney Damages Libby

Dick Cheney’s former chief spokeswoman testified on Thursday that she told the vice president and his chief of staff about Valerie Plame’s CIA status days before Libby claimed he learned the information. She also said the pair was intensely interested in Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson.


New York Times:

Her testimony under questioning from a federal prosecutor was damaging to Mr. Libby. She testified that both Mr. Cheney and Mr. Libby were intensely interested in Ms. Wilson and her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who had been sent on a mission to Africa by the C.I.A. to investigate reports that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy uranium from Niger for his nuclear weapons program.

Ms. [Cathie] Martin’s testimony was damaging for Mr. Libby in two respects. She bolstered the prosecution’s assertion that Mr. Libby was fully aware of Ms. Wilson’s identity from a number of administration officials, and did not first learn about her from reporters, as he claims. Perhaps more important, she testified as a former close colleague of Mr. Libby’s, and demonstrated her familiarity with him by repeatedly referring to him by his nickname, “Scooter.”

Ms. Martin, who still works at the White House but no longer for Mr. Cheney, described how Mr. Libby had telephoned a senior C.I.A. official in her presence and asked about the Wilson trip. She said she was then put on the phone with Bill Harlow, the C.I.A.’s spokesman, who told her that Mr. Wilson went to Africa on behalf of the agency and that his wife worked there.

Some days later, she testified, she told Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney that Mr. Wilson’s wife worked at the agency.

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