Thu Jan 25, 2007 22:04


Jan. 25: Cathie Martin, former press aid to the Vice President, is questioned by defense attorney Ted Wells, as I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby listens.

Former Cheney aide testifies in CIA leak trial
Says she told Libby of Wilson-CIA operative connection earlier on

MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 2 hours, 32 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney's spokeswoman testified Thursday she told I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby that a prominent war critic's wife was a CIA employee earlier than Libby has said he first learned it from a reporter.

On the third day of Libby's trial, Cathie Martin became the first member of Cheney's inner circle to contradict statements by Libby that led to the charges he lied to the FBI and a grand jury investigating who leaked the wife's identity to reporters in 2003.

Theodore Wells, defense lawyer for Cheney's former chief of staff, quickly sought to limit any damage from the testimony of Cheney's former assistant for public affairs.

Wells got Martin to acknowledge that she herself could not recall for sure whether she relayed the information about CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, to Cheney and Libby on June 11, 2003, or as late as July 6, 2003.

The date is important because Libby told investigators he first heard of Plame's job from NBC reporter Tim Russert on July 10. Libby claims that because he was preoccupied with pressing national security issues, he simply forgot he had earlier learned about her work at CIA from government officials.

Besides Martin, one State Department and two CIA officials testified earlier to conversations with Libby about Plame before July 10, 2003. The defense tried to show each had imperfect memories

Libby taking the stand?
On Thursday morning, a legal argument between Wells and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald outside the jury's presence increased the likelihood that Libby will testify. Fitzgerald argued that Wells was trying to get the memory defense into evidence "with no guarantee of Mr. Libby testifying" and being subject to cross-examination about his memory.

But U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton warned, "I will not permit the defense to argue the memory defense at closing if Mr. Libby does not testify."

Martin provided an inside look at how intensely Cheney, Libby and other administration officials worked on responding to the firestorm of criticism that developed months after the war began in March 2003 when Wilson called into question President Bush's justifications.

Wilson claimed that questions from Cheney were the reason he was sent by the CIA to Niger in 2002 to investigate reports Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons. But Wilson said he debunked the story long before Bush used it in his State of the Union address in January 2003 to help justify the war. Also, the ex-ambassador said he assumed Cheney was aware of his conclusions.

Cheney's talking points
Fitzgerald got Martin to testify that Cheney personally wrote out statements and talking points for Libby and other aides to give to reporters to deny he was behind Wilson's trip or ever learned Wilson's conclusions.

Related content

* View documents from Libby trial
* When Hollywood stars shone on Libby
* NBC News: How the CIA leak case began

The Raw Story - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Raw Story is a progressive Internet news publication founded by John K. Byrne ... Raw broke Vice President Dick Cheney's role in the CIA leak scandal. ...



1/25/07 Peter B. Collings Show

Libby Trial: Oncoming Train
By Christy Hardin Smith @ 2:25 pm

As a lawyer, your most valuable commodity in terms of courtroom and professional currency is your reputation for honesty, integrity and sticking to the agreed upon rules and the law, whatever the stakes of your case at bar. This morning, that question came running headlong like an oncoming train into the legal team representing Scooter Libby.

To set the scene, prior to the testimony of Craig Schmall, the CIA briefer for Dick Cheney and Scooter Libby, there had been a series of hearings and motions filed by the government, led by Patrick Fitzgerald, and Libby's legal team, primarily led in these matters by John Cline and Ted Wells, over the last few months preceding the trial. Judge Walton heard arguments on these matters under the CIPA rules and regulations, and then issued orders and memoranda laying out the procedures by which any of this information — relating to highly classified national security documents and intelligence — could be admitted, if at all, in the course of these legal proceedings.

In order to introduce the "memory defense" that Libby's legal team wants to use to defend Libby — the "my difficult job made me lie and forget" defense — Mr. Libby himself will have to take the stand because it is ultimately his memories which are at issue in terms of his state of mind and his alleged falsehoods to the FBI and the grand jury. During Mr. Schmall's testimony, the Libby defense team is trying to slip that memory defense and the national security information which has already been ruled, in part, to be very limitedly admissible, if at all, into the minds of the jury through a back door and a completely unrelated witness.

In effect, as prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald argued this morning, to "bootstrap" the evidence and the arguments into the case.

I can certainly understand wanting to defend your client with every legal weapon in your arsenal. I can also understand feeling constrained in terms of your defense because national security considerations require you to be circumspect in how you can or cannot introduce certain evidence into the trial proceedings. But the CIPA hearings in this matter occurred over a series of weeks, months even, and the Libby legal team has had quite some time ot work out their witness questions and other strategies to overcome this obstacle.

In fact, Judge Walton has bent over backward in a number of his rulings, pressing the government repeatedly for more expansive summary information to be provided as evidence for the jury's consideration — so much so that Fitzgerald and his team, and attorneys from the CIA had to start from scratch and re-draft and re-redact documents in order to fulfill the judge's orders.
Posted in Uncategorized, CIA Leak Case, Libby Trial Live Blog | 198 Comments

Cheney Spars with Blitzer Over Criticism of Iraq


The Plame Affair concerns the claim that the identity of Valerie E. Wilson (née Valerie Elise Plame; also known as "Valerie Plame"), who was working for the CIA possibly as a covert agent, was revealed by a government official. Plame's husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged his wife was outted as "political retribution" for an editorial he wrote in July 2003 criticizing the George W. Bush administration. That claim led to a federal grand jury investigation, an indictment of a federal official for perjury, a civil suit, and related controversy, still ongoing as of the start of 2007.


Main Page - Friday, 02/02/07

Message Board by American Patriot Friends Network [APFN]


messageboard.gif (4314 bytes)