"MTP-VP," or where the White House goes to "control" the message

A former Cheney aide testifies that she told Libby about Valerie Plame before he claims to have heard it from reporters.

Published January 26, 2007 2:25PM (EST)

We'll be watching the Scooter Libby trial next from a seat inside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse. In the meantime, we'll have to satisfy ourselves with tidbits like this one:

Former Cheney spokeswoman Cathie Martin -- who testified that she told Libby that Joseph Wilson's wife worked for the CIA days before he says he first heard it from reporters -- described for the jury yesterday the advice she gave about how the vice president should respond to charges that the White House had misused prewar intelligence.

Her first recommendation: "MTP-VP," meaning the vice president should make an appearance on "Meet the Press." Why MTP? "Control message," Martin wrote in notes made at the time. "I suggested we put the vice president on 'Meet the Press,' which was a tactic we often used," Martin testified. "It's our best format."

By Tim Grieve

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

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