Washington — The prosecutor in the CIA leak probe repeatedly asked New York Times reporter Judith Miller how Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff handled classified information in their discussions and asked whether Cheney knew of their conversations.
In a first-person account released Saturday on The Times' Web site, Miller recounted her recent grand jury testimony, which focused on her conversations in 2003 with Cheney's closest aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Miller said she "didn't think" she heard covert CIA officer Valerie Plame's name from Libby. "I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall."
Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating whether crimes were committed when Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Plame to reporters. Plame's covert status was exposed at a time when her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was criticizing the Bush administration, accusing it of manipulating prewar intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
She said that in her recent testimony, Fitzgerald "asked me questions about Mr. Cheney. He asked, for example, if Mr. Libby ever indicated whether Mr. Cheney had approved of his interviews with me or was aware of them. The answer was no."
The Times reported that the same notebook Miller used to record her conversations with Libby in 2003 contains the name "Valerie Flame" - a misspelled reference to the CIA officer.
Fitzgerald asked Miller to explain how Valerie Plame appeared in the same notebook the reporter used in interviewing her confidential source, Libby. Miller replied that she "didn't think" she heard Plame's name from Libby.