‘NYT’ Correction on Libby: Should Have Checked E-mail, Phone Messsages

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By: E&P Staff

Many newspapers on their Web sites or in print on Wednesday noted that the special prosecutor in the Plame/CIA leak case had “corrected” a court filing released last week, relating to Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s grand jury testimony. Some gave the correction more weight than others, but in any event, The New York Times seemed to lag behind.

An explanation came today in an Editors’ Note on page 2 of the paper’s first section:

“A front-page article in some copies on Sunday reported that a top aide to
Vice President Dick Cheney said he had been authorized to disclose to a
reporter that one of the key judgments in a 2002 National Intelligence
Estimate was that Iraq was ‘vigorously trying to procure uranium.’ The
assertion about the aide, I. Lewis Libby Jr., was based on a court filing
last Wednesday by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor overseeing
the indictment of Mr. Libby in the C.I.A. leak case.

“Yesterday, Mr. Fitzgerald filed a letter with the court correcting his
original filing to say Mr. Libby had been authorized to disclose ‘some of
the key judgments of the N.I.E., and that the N.I.E. stated that Iraq was
vigorously trying to procure uranium.’ This revised account of his filing
undercut a basis of the Times article–that Mr. Libby testified that he had
been told to overstate the significance of the intelligence about uranium.

“Although Mr. Fitzgerald formally filed his corrective yesterday, accounts of
it were provided to some news organizations on Tuesday night, and were the basis for news articles yesterday. The Times did not publish one, as other organizations did, because a telephone message and an e-mail message about the court filing went unnoticed at the newspaper.”

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