Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 4 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Libby Says He Can't Recall Speaking to State Dept. Official About Plame

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Jason Leopold
Become a Fan
  (7 fans)
Defense attorneys for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said in a court filing late Wednesday that the former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't remember a conversation he had with a State Department official in June 2003 in which the official told Libby that Valerie Plame Wilson worked for the CIA.

But the conversation did take place, according to current and former administration officials and attorneys who have remained close to the two-year-old CIA leak probe. At least a half-dozen witnesses who testified before a grand jury over the past two years said that they were at the meeting when Marc Grossman, the former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, told Libby that Plame Wilson worked for the CIA, according to attorneys and US officials close to the two-year-old CIA leak probe.

Grossman also told Libby that Plame Wilson got the CIA to send her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, on a fact-finding trip to Niger in February 2002 to check out reports that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from the African country. Wilson took the trip and reported back to the CIA in March that he found no evidence that Iraq tried to acquire uranium.

"It's not just Mr. Grossman's word against Mr. Libby's," said one former State Department official knowledgeable about the substance of the conversation between Grossman and Libby. "There were other people present at the meeting at the time when Mr. Grossman provided Mr. Libby with details about Ms. Plame's employment with the agency. There is an abundance of evidence Mr. Fitzgerald has that will prove this."

Plame Wilson was unmasked as a covert CIA operative in a July 14, 2003, column written by Robert Novak. Ambassador Wilson believes White House officials leaked his wife's name as retribution because he publicly accused the administration of "twisting" intelligence to win support for the war against Iraq.

Libby's defense attorneys said Libby did not intentionally lie about how he found out that Plame Wilson worked for the CIA. They said Libby was dealing with national security issues and other pressing matters and simply forgot about the details regarding how he found out about Plame Wilson's employment.

The meeting between Libby and Grossman is a crucial part of the government's case against Libby. It demonstrates that Libby knew about Plame Wilson a month or so before her name was published in a newspaper column and proves that Libby lied to the grand jury when he testified that he found out about Plame Wilson from reporters in July 2003.

The facts surrounding Libby's conversation with Grossman surfaced in the obstruction of justice and perjury indictment Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald secured against Libby last October.

In the indictment, Fitzgerald wrote that Grossman told Libby "on or about June 11 or 12, 2003, that, in sum and substance, Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and that State Department personnel were saying that Wilson's wife was involved in the planning of his trip."

But Libby's attorneys, for the first time Wednesday, said Libby doesn't "recall" speaking with Grossman about Plame Wilson.

"During his grand jury appearances, Mr. Libby testified that he did not recall any conversations with Mr. Grossman about Mr. Wilson's wife," says the court filing written by Libby's attorneys.

Grossman has turned out to be an important witness for the prosecution, people close to the probe said.

The former Under Secretary of State derided the campaign to discredit Wilson and was outraged that the White House retaliated against Wilson by leaking his wife's identity to reporters, people close to Grossman said.

Grossman has provided FBI investigators and Fitzgerald with detailed information about the behind-the-scenes effort by Libby and other White House officials to undercut Ambassador Wilson's credibility. Grossman testified before a grand jury that the leak of Plame Wilson's name and CIA status to reporters was an "act of revenge" against her husband's criticism of the administration's use of the uranium claims in President Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address.

Grossman, now vice chairman at The Cohen Group, an international lobbying firm in Washington, DC, was traveling Thursday. His assistant said he could not be reached for comment.

Attorneys as well as current and former administration officials close to the case said Grossman was the lone dissenting unnamed official quoted in a September 28, 2003, Washington Post story who told two Post reporters that "two top White House officials" called "at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife."

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Jason Leopold Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CIA Watchdog Report Says Detainees Died During Interrogations

Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf

Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Cheney Pressured DOJ to Approve Torture

Army's "Spiritual Fitness" Test Comes Under Fire

VA Confirms 18 Vets Commit Suicide Everyday

Newly Declassified DOD Documents Reveal Detainees Tortured To Death

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend