More on the Scooter Libby/Cheney/Plamegate/CIA Spy Leak trial, this from Jon Ponder at Pensito Review on the first White House spokesman under Bush, Ari Fleisher:
I have long suspected that Ari Fleischer was up to this eyeballs in the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to Bob Novak. Yesterday, during the lawyers’ opening statements in the perjury trial of Scooter Libby, Fleischer’s activities at the time were revealed — as was new information that Fleischer testified about his involvement under a grant of immunity from prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald:Fleischer was a short-timer when Plame’s name was leaked to Novak. He was replaced by Scott McClellan on July 15, 2003, the day after Novak’s column was published.
[As] the two legal teams began their courtroom battle, new information was disclosed about the leak affair, including the revelation that Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary at the time of the leak, had identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer to NBC News reporter David Gregory a week before the leak appeared in Robert Novak’s July 14, 2003 column, and that Fleischer, during the subsequent criminal investigation, took the Fifth Amendment and demanded (and received) immunity before testifying to Fitzgerald’s’ grand jury.
Fleischer told the grand jury that he had learned about Valerie Wilson’s CIA affiliation first from Libby and then from Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. (This directly implicated yet two more White House officials in the scandal.) Gregory, though, did not report the information, and he later declined to talk to Fitzgerald about his conversation with Fleischer. Fitzgerald never subpoenaed him. (In a response to an email from a colleague asking about today’s disclosure, Gregory emailed, “I can’t help you, sorry.”) The first day of the trial also brought the news that after the Justice Department opened an investigation of the CIA leak in fall 2003, Cheney pressured the White House press office to make a statement clearing Libby of any wrongdoing.
What prompted all this was former Amb. Joe Wilson’s column on July 7, 2003, in the New York Times, titled, “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” in which he accused Pres. Bush of lying about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program in his State of the Union speech in January 2003. It appears that Fleischer gave reporter David Gregory Plame’s identity within a day or two after Wilson’s article appeared.