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Libby's lawyers subpoena N.Y. Times, reporters

Journalists' notes on leaking of CIA operative's identity sought

From CNN's Bob Franken and Paul Courson
CNN Washington Bureau

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Lawyers for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby are seeking material about the leaking of Valerie Plame's name.

SPECIAL REPORT

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Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Judith Miller
Lewis Libby
Nicholas D. Kristof

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense lawyers for Lewis "Scooter" Libby confirm they have issued subpoenas to reporters and media outlets as they prepare to fight charges against the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Subpoenas were sent to The New York Times, its former reporter Judith Miller, NBC's Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert and Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper, according to a source with knowledge of the subpoenas.

Libby, Cheney's onetime chief of staff, is charged with five federal counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI regarding how he learned the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, and what he did with the information.

The CIA asked for a investigation after Plame's identity was published by syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July 2003. Plame, who was a covert agent for the CIA before her name was published, is the wife of career diplomat Joseph Wilson, who had publicly challenged the Bush administration on a key element in its case for war against Iraq.

The indictment asserts Libby met with Miller in the summer of 2003 and provided details about Plame's employment. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald contends Plame's employment status was classified at the time, but Libby is not charged with disclosing any secrets.

A lawyer for Libby confirmed the effort to learn which reporters knew of Plame's identity, and the source or sources and timing of that knowledge.

"We have issued some subpoenas for documents," William Jeffress told CNN.

Jeffress said more subpoenas likely would be issued, but would not name the targets or say when those might be sent.

Lawyers for Libby want notes and other materials from Miller and information about her interactions with editors at the newspaper concerning the CIA operative.

They are also seeking notes and documents regarding Miller from Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, according to the source.

Robert Bennett, an attorney for Miller, told CNN the subpoenas are "incredibly broad, asking for more information than the prosecutor wanted" and called them a "fishing expedition."

Bennett said he will file some kind of response "trying to limit what they want to the realm of reasonableness."

A spokeswoman for the New York Times confirms it has received and is reviewing a subpoena and will "respond appropriately."

The deadline to file challenges to quash the subpoenas is April 7.

Miller, who testified before a grand jury that handed up the indictment against Libby, spent nearly three months in jail for contempt as she struggled to protect the confidentiality of a source she said provided the information.

CNN's Maria Gavrilovic contributed to this report

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