Lawyers for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby have subpoenaed The New York Times, former Times reporter Judith Miller and NBC correspondent Tim Russert for documents concerning the disclosure of an undercover CIA agent’s identity, as the former White House aide’s legal team prepares for his trial.
Libby, who was Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, is charged with five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors contend he lied about how he learned of undercover officer Valerie Plame’s CIA status.
A spokeswoman for the newspaper said Thursday that the subpoenas are for documents concerning the disclosure of Plame’s identity.
NBC spokeswoman Barbara Levin confirmed Russert also received a subpoena. Libby told FBI agents and a federal grand jury that his information about Plame had come from Russert. But Russert has said they never discussed it.
Plame’s CIA identity was revealed by conservative columnist Robert Novak in July 2003, eight days after Plame’s husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged the Bush administration had twisted prewar intelligence on Iraq.
The newspaper’s lawyers were reviewing its subpoena, Catherine Mathis, vice president for corporate communications at the Times, said when asked whether the news organization would file a court challenge. Mathis said the subpoenas were served Wednesday.
“We have issued subpoenas to news organizations and members, but we are not identifying the parties,” said Barbara Comstock, a spokesman for Libby’s legal team.
Time magazine reporter subpoenaed
In a story in Thursday’s editions, The Times reported that Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper also had received subpoenas from Libby’s lawyers.
Miller spent 85 days in jail after refusing to tell a grand jury about conversations she had with Libby about Plame.
The Times reporter later testified before the grand jury, saying Libby had given her permission to do so, and provided the panel with edited notes of her interviews with the former chief of staff.
She retired from the Times in November.
The new subpoenas seek Miller’s notes and other materials, including any other documents concerning Plame prepared by Miller and Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.
Kristof wrote the first account of the criticism that Plame’s husband was leveling at the Bush administration. Referring to Plame’s husband, though not by name, a May 6, 2003, Times column by Kristof raised the possibility the Bush administration might have disregarded prewar evidence suggesting Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction.
Three weeks after Kristof’s column appeared, Libby started making inquiries about Wilson at the State Department, according to the indictment of Libby.
Wilson has said he believes his wife’s identity was disclosed to undermine his credibility.
The subpoenas also seek other materials, including drafts of a personal account by Miller published in the Times about her grand jury testimony, and documents concerning a recent Vanity Fair article and her interactions with a Times editor.