Did Scooter Libby "wipe out" evidence?

MSNBC pulls back from a claim that Libby destroyed notes of a meeting with Cheney.

Published January 23, 2007 7:46PM (EST)

MSNBC's David Schuster reported this morning on what seemed to be a blockbuster new allegation in the Plamegate case: That Scooter Libby "destroyed a note from Vice President Cheney about their conversations and about how Vice President Cheney wanted the [Joseph] Wilson matter handled."

Schuster said that Libby allegedly destroyed the note just before his first interview with FBI agents investigating the Plame leak -- an interview in which Libby said that he'd first learned about Plame from reporters and not from the vice president.

Is that really what Patrick Fitzgerald is alleging? Maybe not. In a subsequent report on its Web site, MSNBC now suggests that Schuster may have jumped to a possibly unfounded conclusion based on something Fitzgerald said in court today. Fitzgerald told jurors that Libby had "wiped out" the note from Cheney. "It was not clear," MSNBC now says, "if Fitzgerald meant that an attempt was made to destroy the note or that Libby had forgotten about it. In any case, the note was recovered and is part of the evidence."

By Tim Grieve

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

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