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Evidence to be presented to new grand jury in CIA leak case

WASHINGTON—Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald on Friday signaled that his investigation into the disclosure of an undercover CIA officer's identity remains active, re-igniting speculation that other Bush administration officials could face criminal charges.

In a federal court filing, Fitzgerald said the investigation "will involve proceedings before a different grand jury" from the one that returned perjury and obstruction of justice charges against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

That grand jury expired on Oct. 28. Fitzgerald said then that the investigation was ongoing, but Friday's filing was the first time that Fitzgerald has confirmed that evidence will be presented to a new grand jury.

The filing offered no information on what that evidence might be. But it sparked new speculation about the investigation days after Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward revealed that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA officer Valerie Plame in mid-June.

On Monday, Woodward gave a deposition under oath detailing his conversation with his source. But Woodward said that his source refuses to be identified publicly.

Woodward, who rose to prominence unearthing the Watergate scandal in the Nixon administration, has faced a barrage of criticism from journalism watchdogs for not revealing sooner that he'd been told about Plame and for criticizing Fitzgerald's investigation without disclosing his involvement in it. He also apologized to his editor.

There was no clear connection between Woodward's revelation and Fitzgerald's mention of another grand jury in Friday's filing, which came in response to a legal challenge from news organizations to efforts by Fitzgerald to keep secret some evidence that will be turned over to Libby's attorneys as they prepare for trial.

In the filing, Fitzgerald argued that some evidence shouldn't be made public "because the investigation is continuing and because the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury" from the one that indicted Libby.

He also argued that evidence such as calendars and phone logs shouldn't be released publicly because it reveals too much information about Libby's and other officials' "family members, doctors and personal contacts." Editing that information out would be "unduly cumbersome."

A spokesman for Fitzgerald declined to comment on Friday.

Since Woodward's deposition was revealed, a number of Bush administration officials, including President Bush's deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, who's thought to be a subject of Fitzgerald's investigation, have denied being his source.

Previously, Libby was thought to have been the first Bush administration official to tell a reporter about Plame's identity, in a conversation with former New York Times reporter Judith Miller that Fitzgerald said took place on June 23, 2003.

But Woodward said his source told him about Plame in mid-June 2003, a time when Libby and Cheney were discussing her, according to Fitzgerald's earlier filings. That would place the revelation before Libby's conversation with Miller and weeks before Plame's name first appeared in a column by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

It isn't clear, however, whether Woodward's source called the CIA officer by her maiden name, Plame, which she used in her clandestine work, or by her husband's name, Wilson, which is how she was identified in a State Department report in early June. Nor is it clear whether the source told Woodward that Plame worked undercover, not as an analyst.

It's a federal crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert CIA officer. Plame is married to former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a Bush administration critic, and Novak's column appeared days after Wilson wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence in the run-up to war with Iraq.

Mark Corallo, a spokesman for Rove's legal team, said Friday that Rove wasn't Woodward's source. He had no comment on Fitzgerald's statement about a new grand jury.


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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