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CIA Likely to Fight Release of Intel Briefings for Leak Probe

The CIA signaled Tuesday it likely will fight the release of highly classified presidential intelligence briefings that Vice President Cheney's former top aide wants to use in his defense against perjury charges.

Gathering the materials sought by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, would take up to nine months, Marilyn Dorn, a CIA information review officer, said in a sworn statement filed in U.S. District Court.

Dorn said the CIA believes disclosure of the informaton would damage national security and wants a chance to be heard in court before any material is turned over to Libby, who is charged with lying in the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

"The defense's requests clearly implicate highly classified, compartmentalized information and potential claims of executive privilege for presidential communications and the deliberative process," Dorn wrote.

Dorn's affidavit was filed last Friday but made public Tuesday.

Libby, 55, was indicted last year on charges that he lied to the FBI and a federal grand jury about how he learned the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame and when he subsequently told reporters.

Lawyers for Libby want access to nearly a year of the President's Daily Brief, a summary of intelligence about threats against the United States. Dorn estimated it would take nine months for the small staff responsible for producing the intelligence briefing to assemble the material.

But Dorn estimated it would take about three months to comply with a more streamlined request of about 40 days of the PDB that U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton suggested. That period would cover when Libby allegedly spoke to three reporters, along with two days before and after he was interviewed by FBI agents and testified before the grand jury.