White House Records Sought in Novak Leak

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(AP) A federal grand jury probing the leak of a CIA officer’s identity has subpoenaed the records of phone calls from Air Force One made the week before the name of the officer was published in a July newspaper column, Newsday of Melville, N.Y., reported Friday.

The three subpoenas to President Bush’s Executive Office also seek the July records created by an internal task force called the White House Iraq Group, which was created to publicize the threat of Saddam Hussein, Newsday said. The newspaper cited documents that it obtained.

In addition, it said, the grand jury wants records of White House contacts with more than two dozen journalists and news organizations.

The subpoenas were issued to the White House on Jan. 22, Newsday said. The grand jury is trying to find out whether there were violations to a federal law that prohibits the intentional disclosure of the identity of an undercover agent by officials with security clearances.

The investigation stemmed from concerns that officials in the Bush administration had divulged the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to discredit her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, because of his criticism of the administration’s Iraq policy.

“The president has always said we would fully comply with the investigation, and the White House counsel’s office has directed the staff to fully comply,” White House spokesman Erin Healy told Newsday.

Two of the subpoenas are focused on July White House events, contacts and records around the time of a July 14 column by syndicated columnist Robert Novak that said senior administration officials told him Plame was a CIA officer.

A third subpoena is a repeat of a Justice Department request to the White House that sought records about staff contacts with Novak and two Newsday reporters. White House staff records also were sought regarding contacts with several other news organizations including The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Time magazine, NBC, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Newsday said. There’s been no record of journalists being subpoenaed.

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