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Judith Miller Agrees To Testify About Plame-Outing

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According to AP writer Pete Yost, after 85 days in a federal detention center, New York Times reporter Judith Miller has agreed to testify in Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA operative. Plame was identified by name by Robert D. Novak in a syndicated column published in July, 2003.

The special investigation, which began in December 2003, was tasked with determining whether any government official had knowingly leaked Plame’s identity as a CIA employee to the media. Judith Miller’s part in the investigation has been a mystery to those outside the investigation. Miller, who never wrote an article about Plame, was jailed following her refusal to testify about conversations she may have had with with Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby regarding Plame before the Novak column ran.

Miller refused to testify earlier because, she said, she was protecting her sources, despite having received a blanket permission to do so from Vice-President Cheney’s office.

Libby’s lawyer said Friday he and his client had released Miller long ago to testify, and was surprised when Miller’s lawyers again asked for a release in the last few weeks.

“We had signed a waiver more than a year ago,” Attorney Joseph Tate said. “We didn’t think this had anything to do with Scooter. I was under the impression from talking to (Miller attorney Floyd) Abrams that she was protecting a number of other sources.”

Plame’s husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, has said his wife’s career was ruined in retaliation for his public criticism of Bush. In a 2002 trip to Niger at the request of the CIA, Wilson reported finding no evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Nearly a year later, Bush asserted in his State of the Union speech that Iraq had sought uranium from Africa, attributing it to British, not US, intelligence.

In July 2003, shortly before Novak’s column ran, Wilson appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in an interview in The Post, and in an op-ed article in the New York Times, in which he accused the president of “twisting” intelligence.

In a second column about Plame written in October 2003, Novak wrote that the CIA official he described as a source in his July column had “asked me not to use [Plame’s] name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause ‘difficulties’ if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson’s wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name.”

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