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CIA Leak Prosecutor Seeks New Grand Jury

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CIA Leak Prosecutor Seeks New Grand Jury

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CIA Leak Prosecutor Seeks New Grand Jury

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald wants another grand jury to hear more evidence in the CIA leak case. Last month Fitzgerald got his first grand jury to indict top vice presidential aide Lewis Libby. Today he filed papers indicating that he is seeking a new panel, that after Bob Woodward of The Washington Post disclosed an involvement in the matter that Fitzgerald did not know about. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports.

ARI SHAPIRO reporting:

Joseph DiGenova was a US attorney for Washington, DC, under President Reagan. He believes news of Bob Woodward's role in the Plame leak case is a major blow to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

Mr. JOSEPH DiGENOVA (Former US Attorney): Mr. Fitzgerald, in his news conference, pegged his entire presentation to the public on the fact that Mr. Libby was the first government official to disclose her name to anyone.

SHAPIRO: Here's what Fitzgerald said about Lewis Libby.

Mr. PATRICK FITZGERALD (Special Prosecutor): He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter, and that he lied about it afterwards, under oath and repeatedly.

SHAPIRO: Now Fitzgerald's statement that Libby was the first is in doubt. Phil Heymann was the deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration and now teaches at Harvard Law. He does not think these revelations will hurt the prosecution.

Mr. PHIL HEYMANN (Former Deputy Attorney General; Harvard Law School): Libby was charged with lying to the FBI, not with having revealed the name of a covert CIA agent. And I think that the substance of the charges of lying don't get affected by there being a new first source.

SHAPIRO: Libby says he didn't lie. He claims he and reporters just remembered things differently. Former US attorney Tom DiBaggio says that account becomes a little more plausible after this week's revelations that Bob Woodward knew about Plame's identity before Libby talked with reporters about it.

Mr. TOM DiBAGGIO (Former US Attorney): It is possible that Libby's recollection is correct and the reporters are not recalling it correctly. So it gives the defense lawyers something to argue, something to explore and something to work with.

SHAPIRO: Former US attorney DiGenova says that could explain why a government official waited two years to testify and release Woodward from his promise of confidentiality.

Mr. DiGENOVA: The source may have realized that his or her silence may have doomed Mr. Libby, and now they realize that they have a duty to come forward morally, if not legally.

SHAPIRO: Today also brought word that the investigation is ongoing with a new grand jury. Aitan Goelman is a former prosecutor who worked with Fitzgerald in New York.

Mr. AITAN GOELMAN (Former Prosecutor): And that confirms that there may be future indictments, but it doesn't confirm that there will be future indictments. And I don't think it should be a surprise to anyone that there is, you know, going to be a new grand jury impaneled. I mean, during his news conference, Pat said that the investigation was continuing and, you know, to conduct an effective investigation, you need to have a grand jury to bring witnesses to.

SHAPIRO: But, says Goelman, there's a limited scope to what the new grand jury can investigate.

Mr. GOELMAN: Once you indict someone, you can no longer gather evidence for trial by using the grand jury.

SHAPIRO: So this grand jury is investigating other crimes or other people. And as long as the investigation remains open, the cloud it has cast over the White House will remain, shadowing some of the most powerful people around the president, including top adviser Karl Rove and even Vice President Dick Cheney. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.

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