Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Matthew Cooper Testifies Rove Told Him About Plame

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Former Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper testified today that top presidential aide Karl Rove was the first person to tell him that an Iraq war critic's wife was a CIA official.

Cooper, testifying in Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby's perjury trial, also contradicted Libby's account of a conversation the two had the following day, on July 12, 2003, about war critic Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame.

Libby, 56, Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide, is accused of lying to investigators probing whether U.S. officials deliberately leaked Plame's identity to retaliate against Wilson for attacking the administration's Iraq war claims. Prosecutors say Libby falsely told a grand jury that, when Cooper asked about Plame, he said he heard about her from other reporters and didn't know if the information was true.

``I asked what he heard about Wilson's wife'' sending him to Niger to find out if Iraq sought to buy uranium there, Cooper said. ``Mr. Libby said words to the effect of `yeah, I heard that too.'''

Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald asked whether Libby said where he had learned about Plame.

``Not in any way,'' said Cooper, now Washington editor of a new magazine, Conde Nast Portfolio. Asked whether Libby said he heard about her from other reporters, Cooper replied in the negative.

Wilson wrote a column in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, saying he found no evidence that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger and accusing the Bush administration of ``twisting'' intelligence to justify invading Iraq.


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