[LEAK-GATE] Bush staff went after ambassador
Tribune Newspapers:
[LEAKGATE] Bush staff went after ambassador
Sat Mar 6 15:42:30 2004

Transcript: Bush staff went after ambassador

By Tom Brune
Tribune Newspapers: Newsday

March 6, 2004

WASHINGTON -- A transcript subpoenaed in the CIA leak investigation reveals the White House press operation began trying to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV days before a columnist blew the cover of his CIA-officer wife.

A federal grand jury served three subpoenas on the White House in January for Air Force One telephone records and a transcript of a news briefing during the presidential trip to Africa the week before Robert Novak's July 14 column identifying CIA officer Valerie Plame.

The grand jury also subpoenaed White House records of staff contacts with more than two dozen reporters who wrote or broadcast about administration concerns over Plame, Wilson and his CIA report that rejected rumors that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger.

The White House confirmed it had received subpoenas.

The efforts to discredit Wilson came after he went public July 6 with criticism of President Bush for mentioning the uranium rumor in his State of the Union address in January 2003. The information was part of the administration's case for the Iraq war.

In the subpoenaed July 12 transcript of a briefing in Nigeria, then-press secretary Ari Fleischer called Wilson a "lower-level official" and said Wilson had made flawed and incomplete statements. Fleischer did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

Many of the journalists listed in a subpoena have reported various attempts by the Bush administration last year to discredit Wilson. For example, Time magazine reported three days after Novak's column that administration officials had described Plame's relationship to Wilson and suggested she had gotten him the Niger mission.

Copyright 2004, Chicago Tribune


Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (50 U.S.C. 421 et seq.)
(governing disclosures that could expose confidential Government agents)

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