[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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Suspicion centers on Lewis Libby
The leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front
Wilson sees wife's `outing' as retaliation
White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales sent a notice Friday to all White House
employees instructing them to turn in copies of numerous documents for the
ongoing probe into who leaked the name of a CIA operative to a newspaper
From top advisers to junior staff, nearly 2,000 White House employees were
ordered to come forward by Tuesday with any documents that might help the
criminal investigation into the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity.
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