Ex-CIA executive testifies he told Libby about Plame
The defense pointed out inconsistencies in statements by government witnesses.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was eager to make public that the CIA, not Vice President Dick Cheney, sent an ex-ambassador to check on Iraq's efforts to obtain nuclear material, a former agency executive said Wednesday.
Former CIA Iraq Mission Manager Robert L. Grenier appeared as a government witness in the trial of Libby on charges of obstruction and lying. He testified he told Libby that the idea of sending ex-ambassador Joseph Wilson to Niger was the brainchild of Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, who worked in the CIA office that sent him in 2002.
A year later, Wilson became a prominent critic of the war, based on what he found in the African nation.
Ultimately, Grenier's testimony could help prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald establish a motive for Libby to confirm her identity and employer to reporters in 2003, which Libby denies doing.
What defense said
But defense lawyer William Jeffress quickly questioned how Grenier's memory managed to improve substantially since he talked to investigators in 2003-05.
The defense has attacked government witnesses for inconsistencies in their statements during the investigation of the leak of Plame's name.
Such attacks on memory set the stage for the defense argument that Libby did not lie to investigators about what he told reporters about Plame but merely had his own memory lapse.
Plame's identity and her role in Wilson's trip were leaked to columnist Robert Novak in July 2003 shortly after Wilson publicly criticized Bush for portraying Iraq as trying to purchase uranium in Niger -- months after Wilson told the government the story was untrue.
Libby is charged with obstructing the investigation of the Plame leak and lying to the FBI and a grand jury.
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