Former New York Times Reporter Judith Miller conceded today that she could not be "absolutely, absolutely certain" that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was the first person to tell her that Valerie Plame, the wife of a Bush critic, was a CIA operative.
Miller made the admission while under cross-examination by William Jeffress, a lawyer for Libby.
Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, is on trial for allegedly lying to the grand jury that investigated the leak of Plame's identity.
Jeffress pounced on Miller's memories and previous statements she made to the grand jury and on the TV show "The Digital Age."
Jeffress showed the jury a clip from the show where Miller said, "I had conversations with senior government officials, and not-so-senior government officials about Ms. Plame, Mr. Wilson and this issue."
Jeffress then tried to press Miller to reveal her sources. "Who were those senior government officials?"
Miller said that she was reffering to Wilson and the larger issue of the Niger-Iraq controversy. Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, criticized President Bush's assertion that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from the African country.
Jeffress also returned to the fact that Miller had Wilson's phone number in her notes as she worked on the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction hunt and questions about pre-war intelligence. "I can't remember who told me that Joe Wilson may be helpful," she said.
Miller was questioned extensively about her June 23, 2003, meeting with Libby where he allegedly told her that Wilson's wife worked in the "non-proliferation bureau."
Miller said she had been confused about the word "bureau." To her, that meant the FBI.
Jeffress then turned to Miller's Oct. 12, 2005, grand jury testimony, where she testified that the information about Valerie Wilson's job at the CIA came from Libby. "I don't remember if that was the first time," Miller said, "but it was among the first times I had ever heard it."
The defense then asked Miller about her notes and the incorrect names she had for Wilson's wife, where she had written "Valerie Flame."
"Where did you get this information?" Jeffress asked.
Miller told the jury, "I don't remember."
"It didn't come from Mr. Libby." Jeffress stated, to which Miller said, "I don't believe it did."
Miller was then shown another grand jury excerpt where she said that after Wilson published his New York Times opinion column criticizing Bush's assertions about Iraq and Niger, "I decided to ask as many people as I could think of." Miller testified that after Wilson's piece ran she thought it was odd that a person connected with the CIA on WMD issues would be making voracious claims about the administration skewing intelligence.
Under redirect examination by Fitzgerald, Miller testified that during her meetings with Libby, she was more focused on working on Iraq WMD issues, while Libby was focused on "the State of the Union…who said what…the inside baseball."
"I was focused on chemical and biological weapons, not the he said-she said, Washington politics," Miller said.
Former Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper then took the witness stand as the second journalist in the trial and told the jury how he spoke to White House advisor Karl Rove as well as Libby about Wilson and his wife's employment at the CIA as a weapons of mass destruction analyst.
Cooper told the jury about working in July 2003 on controversial claims made in President Bush's State of the Union address regarding Iraq's desire to buy uranium in Niger.
Cooper testified that Rove told him, "Don't get too far out on Wilson…a number of things are going to be coming out that would cast him differently."
Cooper also told the jury what Rove said about Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame Wilson: "Rove said she worked on WMD at the agency." Cooper also described a July 12, 2003, conversation he had with Libby where Libby allegedly told the reporter, "I heard that, too," when asked about Wilson's wife.
After the jury was dismissed for lunch the prosecutors and defense raised an issue with Judge Walton about the next witness who will be testifying -- FBI Agent Deborah Bond.
In an effort to show Libby's frame of mind in July 2003, the prosecution wanted to submit a note from Libby after a conversation he had with Mary Matalin about how to deal with the Wilson-Niger issue.
On the note Libby wrote, "Wilson is a snake."
Libby was seeking consultation from the vice president's former communications director.
Judge Walton did not seem inclined to allow the note into evidence when Bond testifies. Bond replaced John Eckenrode as the lead FBI agent on the investigation.
Tim Russert of NBC may testify after Bond, but, as usual, Fitzgerald was tight-lipped about when Russert will be called.