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Affidavit gives few hints to CIA name leaker

In a filing Thursday at U.S. District Court in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby CIA/Leak case, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald -- in a 19-page affidavit -- offered few clues about the identity of the official or officials involved in the leak of former CIA employee, Valerie Wilson Plame's name to reporters, other than Libby himself.

Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was indicted last year on charges that he lied about how he learned Plame's identity and when he told reporters.

The affidavit does not unravel the mystery of who Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's "official" source was. Woodward revealed last year that in mid June, 2003 he had conversations with Libby as well as another un-named government official with whom he spoke about Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joe Wilson.

Fitzgerald writes Libby is not entitled to know everything that the government investigation has learned about other leaks to reporters regarding Plame's employment at the CIA. He says that granting Libby's request for more information, "if complied with, would compromise 'innocent accused' in the investigation" and delves into irrelevant matters.

The un-named official's identity has been the subject of intense interest and speculation since columnist Robert Novak published Plame's name in July 2003 -- eight days after her husband, Joseph Wilson, accused the administration of twisting intelligence to justify going to war with Iraq.

One paragraph in Thursday's filing indicates that the un-named official spoke separately to Woodward and Novak, "Libby has been given a redacted transcript of the conversation between Woodward and [redacted] and Novak has published an account briefly describing the conversation with his first confidential source [redacted]."

The existence of a "transcript of the conversation" could suggest that there is an audio recording of the conversation between Woodward and the unnamed source.

Last Friday, Judge Reggie Walton decided to continue to protect the anonymity of one administration official, whom Libby's attorneys described as a confidential source about Plame for two reporters.

Libby's lawyers said in court that the "official" is someone "outside the White House." But, Thursday's filing also notes that Woodward and Novak, (who revealed Plame's name in a column on July 14, 2003) spoke with the unnamed source, and there is a "transcript" of the conversation.

Novak said in a speech last year that President Bush knew the identity of his confidential source, and he also suggested that the official also was Woodward's source as well.

The Fitzgerald affidavit notes, "Libby testified that he learned from [redacted] on July 10 or July 11 that Novak was aware of Wilson's wife employment at the CIA and that Novak planned to publish a story about Wilson and his wife."

The affidavit states, "Mr. Libby indisputably knows at least one of Mr. Novak's sources: [redacted] Mr. Libby testified in the grand jury that Rove told Libby that Novak was publishing a column about Wilson's wife before it was ever published."

Fitzgerald writes that he does not intend to call a number of reporters as witnesses in the Libby trail, because the government had all the documents related to administration contact with them. He also said that he had complete depositions from two other reporters Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler both at the Washington Post. The Special Counsel writes, "We produced these transcripts in part because we did not intend to call these witnesses at trial, and because these reporters had spoken publicly about their role in this case to varying degrees."

A majority of the affidavit is redacted because, "The government believes that the additional redactions are necessary to protect grand jury secrecy and uncharged individuals whose privacy should be protected. With the additional redactions to this affidavit, the government does not object to the affidavit being unsealed and made public."

The purpose of the affidavit was to describe with specificity the items not being produced to the Scooter Libby defense team. Libby's lawyers had requested that Judge Reggie Walton provide them with the identity of "Official 1," but Fitzgerald has stated that it is still grand jury material and therefore secret.

In defending why some materials cannot be released to Libby, Fitzgerald says, "disclosing all documents or information regarding conversations between officials and reporters in spring 2003 regardless of when the documents were created -- would sweep in virtually every grand jury transcript and reports of interview of most witnesses and many irrelevant documents as nearly every discussion or document about the baseline fact that information was leaked to reporter Robert Novak in July 2003."

The CIA Thursday filed under seal a separate affidavit describing the time it will take the agency to collect the Presidential Daily Briefs (PDBs) Libby and his defense team have requested, and the burden that production may place on the government if the Court ordered their production. Judge Walton also wanted included in the filing the time it would take to provide Libby with a "written representation of the general subject matters covered in documents used to conduct the defendant's morning intelligence briefings." The judge also limited the document request to three specific time periods:
1) When Libby allegedly had conversations with Tim Russert, and Matt Cooper about Valerie Plame
2) When Libby was interviewed by the FBI
3) When Libby testified before the grand jury

Libby's trial date has been set for January 2007.