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Reporter testifies again in CIA case

Reporter testifies again in CIA case
Wed Oct 12, 2005 12:08 PM ET

By Adam Entous
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A New York Times reporter, under pressure to explain a previously undisclosed conversation with a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, made a second appearance on Wednesday before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

Times reporter Judith Miller answered questions before the grand jury for more than an hour after turning over notes detailing her June 23, 2003, conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby. An entry in her notes referred to Joseph Wilson, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's diplomat husband.

That conversation could help federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald establish whether the White House started targeting Wilson and possibly his wife in the weeks before Wilson publicly accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence on Iraq.

During that period, reports had surfaced of a CIA-funded trip Wilson took in which he investigated administration charges that Iraq tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa and found the allegations had little foundation.

The leak investigation has spotlighted freedom-of-press issues and the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to defend its Iraq policy against critics.

President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, has also been summoned to make a fourth appearance before the grand jury, most likely on Friday, and prosecutors have told him they can make no guarantees he will not be indicted.

In a memo to New York Times staff on Tuesday, Executive Editor Bill Keller said Miller, who first testified before the grand jury on September 30 after spending 85 days in jail, may not yet be clear of legal jeopardy.

During her September 30 grand jury appearance, Miller testified about her two previously disclosed conversations with Libby -- on July 8 and July 12, 2003.

It was unclear how Fitzgerald learned about the June 23, 2003, conversation.

Legal sources close to Miller said she discovered the notes after she testified.

Miller was tight-lipped as she left the federal courthouse. "No comment today," her attorney, Robert Bennett, said. Continued ...

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.




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