New York Times reporter Judith Miller (search) on Wednesday gave prosecutors details of a previously undisclosed conversation she had with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, adding a new dimension to the criminal investigation into the leak of a covert CIA officer's identity.
Miller testified for over an hour to a federal grand jury, the reporter's second appearance before the panel. On Tuesday, Miller turned over to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald (search) notes from her June 23, 2003, contact with I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby (search) and underwent questioning by prosecutors.
Miller's notes, according to a story published last weekend in the Times, refer to Bush administration critic and former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson (search).
She and her lawyer, Robert Bennett (search), had no comment as they left the courthouse. Bennett said Miller had completed her testimony.
The prosecutors have been examining the roles of Libby, presidential aide Karl Rove (search) and others in the Bush administration in the leak to reporters of the identity of Wilson's wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame (search).
Before the June 23 Miller-Libby conversation, the Times and The Washington Post had both referred to Wilson, though not by name, in articles questioning the Bush administration's handling of prewar intelligence on Iraq. On July 6, 2003, the Times published an op-ed piece by Wilson suggesting the Bush administration had twisted intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq's nuclear weapons program. Eight days later, columnist Robert Novak (search) exposed Plame's identity as a CIA officer, saying his information had come from two administration officials.
Miller never wrote a story about Wilson or Plame. She testified Sept. 30 about two conversations with Libby in the days after Wilson's op-ed piece in The Times came out.
The newspaper said in a memo to its staff that once Miller's obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, The Times intends to write "the most thorough story we can of her entanglement with the White House leak investigation. It's a complicated story involving a large cast, and it has required a meticulous reporting effort — in part to chase down and debunk some of the myths kicked up by the rumor mill."
The newspaper said the "story is incomplete until we know as much as we can about the substance of her evidence." It contrasted its intentions to reveal the evidence Miller has given with other reporters who have testified, including two from the Post.
The Times added that Novak has not disclosed the details of his grand jury testimony. Novak has refused to say whether he cooperated with Fitzgerald's investigation.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (search), in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday, was asked why a person would be making an encore appearance before a grand jury.
Specifying that he was not discussing Rove or any other witness before this particular grand jury, Gonzales replied: "This prosecutor may have new information that may contradict prior testimony or may have questions about prior testimony, may simply seek a clarification. I'm not going to try to speculate what the motivation is behind Mr. Fitzgerald in asking a return by any witness. But there are a variety of reasons that someone might be called back to answer additional questions before a grand jury."
Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with Fitzgerald's probe. She testified Sept. 30 before the grand jury after getting a waiver from her source, Libby, and after receiving assurances from Fitzgerald that questions would be limited to her conversations with Libby.
Rove had conversations about Plame with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper (search) and Novak. Cooper also spoke with Libby about Plame.
Fitzgerald also is calling Rove for additional testimony. It will be Rove's fourth appearance. The grand jury, which has been hearing evidence in the investigation for the past two years, is due to expire Oct. 28.