Libby's lawyers say Valerie Plame never meant much to him

The vice president's indicted chief of staff was worried about more important things.

Published February 23, 2006 3:01PM (EST)

In their latest legal brief arguing for the disclosure of thousands of pages of classified documents, lawyers for Scooter Libby say they need the papers in order to help their client refresh his memory about all the important things he was doing when he "forgot" or "misremembered" a few "isolated portions of conversations about less important topics."

What were those "less important topics"? Libby's lawyers explain: "The defense will not, of course, contend that Mr. Libby forgot about the controversy caused by Mr. Wilson's public claims that the administration had misled the public concerning whether Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa. However, few people, and certainly not Mr. Libby, believed the employment of Wilson's wife by the CIA was an important part of the rebuttal to Wilson's claims."

Oh, really?

In the indictment it handed down in October, the federal grand jury that investigated Plame's outing portrayed Libby -- and those around him -- as pretty well obsessed with Wilson and the fact that his wife worked for the CIA. A few examples:

On or about June 11 or 12, 2003: Libby is advised by an undersecretary of state that Wilson's wife works for the CIA and may have been involved in the organization of his trip to Niger.

On or about June 11, 2003: Libby gets similar information about Wilson's wife from a CIA official.

On or about June 12, 2003: Dick Cheney tells Libby that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA in its Counterproliferation Division.

On or about June 14, 2003: Libby meets with a CIA briefer and discusses both Wilson and Plame by name.

On or about June 23, 2003: Libby tells the New York Times' Judith Miller that Wilson's wife might work at the CIA.

On or about July 7, 2003: Libby tells Ari Fleischer that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.

On or about July 8, 2003: Libby tells Miller about Wilson's wife again.

Between June 2003 and July 8, 2003: The assistant to the vice president for public affairs tells Libby that he has learned that Wilson's wife works at the CIA.

On July 10 or July 11, 2003: "Official A" tells Libby that he has discussed Wilson's wife with Robert Novak.

On or about July 12, 2003: Libby confirms for Time's Matthew Cooper that Wilson's wife works for the CIA.

On or about July 12, 2003: Libby tells Judith Miller about Wilson's wife again.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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