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The CIA Agent Flap: FBI Asks for Reporters to Talk
TIME ^ | Jan. 02, 2004 | JOHN F. DICKERSON AND VIVECA NOVAK

Posted on 01/02/2004 4:37:06 PM PST by cyncooper

Investigators are pressing Administration officials to let journalists tell whatever they know about the leak of a CIA agent's identity

FBI investigators looking into the criminal leak of a CIA agent’s identity have asked Bush Administration officials including senior political adviser Karl Rove to release reporters from any confidentiality agreements regarding conversations about the agent. If signed, the single-page requests made over the last week would give investigators new ammunition for questioning reporters who have so far, according to those familiar with the case, not disclosed the names of administration officials who divulged that Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson, worked for the CIA.

While irregular, the move is not unprecedented. Various officials were told from the start that such a request might be made. Along with the recusal this week of Attorney General John Ashcroft, this suggests that investigators are ready to enter the next stage of the probe. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has been named special prosecutor to oversee the inquiry. The FBI has already extensively re-interviewed some White House officials using emails and phone logs from their search to press for the identity of the leaker. “They are taking this very seriously,” says one close to the case.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press, says asking people who are in the universe of possible suspects to sign such a document is unusual, though not unheard of. "From the prosecutors' point of view, it is likely a precursor to subpoenaing journalists to testify before a grand jury, and then asking a judge to hold them in contempt if they refuse to do so," she noted.

It's plain that White House officials are under some pressure to sign the documents. "They can't refuse," said one individual who's familiar with the case. "The worst thing to be accused of here is not cooperating with the investigation." But reporters are not likely to feel the same pressure. Journalists rarely divulge the identities of confidential sources even when threatened with contempt citations so the releases may make little difference. Still, in a post-9/11 world, a case involving the disclosure of a covert agent's identity could be taken very seriously by a judge, who would have the power to jail a member of the press for refusing to cooperate with a grand jury.

For an administration that at times holds a very dim view of the press, the reputation of the Bush White House and the future of some of its officials may hang on the profession’s ethical standards.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cialeak; fitzgerald; joewilson; patrickfitzgerald; plame; plamenameblamegame; rockcreekcorporation; walterpincus
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I just saw Viveca Novak on CNN by chance and heard her discussing this with Cooper Anderson. She referred quite breathlessly to what a serious crime this is. Note: Karl Rove's picture is prominently featured on Time's website headlining this story and Anderson asked Novak if it's known if Rove signed the form yet, implying that Rove is the one.

Good try CNN and TIME. This will be yet another dry hole in your neverending effort to paint the Bush administration with the scandal brush.

1 posted on 01/02/2004 4:37:06 PM PST by cyncooper
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2 posted on 01/02/2004 4:38:37 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!)
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To: cyncooper
Bump.
3 posted on 01/02/2004 4:44:54 PM PST by EllaMinnow (I miss Chancellor Palpatine. Heck, I even miss Illbay.)
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To: cyncooper
For an administration that at times holds a very dim view of the press, the reputation of the Bush White House and the future of some of its officials may hang on the profession’s ethical standards.

LOL! Bush's administration is doomed then! Pfft! This means nothing in the end, I believe. The administration will sign the releases and the journalists still do not have to divulge sources. Unless the judge is a Dim with a huge grudge, I don't see Novak going to jail either.

Prairie

4 posted on 01/02/2004 4:45:54 PM PST by prairiebreeze (I'm a monthly donor to FR. And proud of it!)
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To: cyncooper
For an administration that at times holds a very dim view of the press, the reputation of the Bush White House and the future of some of its officials may hang on the profession’s ethical standards.

That sounds almost like a threat.

Why is it okay for the MEDIA/PRESS to be secretive and have their notes protected above and beyond "regular people," but it's not okay for the PRESIDENT to have certain information that is seen only by those determined to have a "need to know"?

5 posted on 01/02/2004 4:46:24 PM PST by arasina (Tagline sponsorships! Think about it! Brought to you by MAYTAG)
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To: cyncooper
Did you see this?

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1050418/posts
6 posted on 01/02/2004 4:47:02 PM PST by EllaMinnow (I miss Chancellor Palpatine. Heck, I even miss Illbay.)
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To: redlipstick
No! I had not seen that. I clicked your link and saw the headline and had to laugh. THIS I can't wait to read. Back soon...

(I wish this investigation would net none other than the Wilsons themselves. How satisfying that would be.)
7 posted on 01/02/2004 4:50:09 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: redlipstick
Thanks for that link!

Prairie
8 posted on 01/02/2004 4:57:25 PM PST by prairiebreeze (I'm a monthly donor to FR. And proud of it!)
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To: cyncooper
If the liberal press was not willing to move on the Memogate scangdal that Sean Hannity broke, they should stop being so hypocritical over this issue.
9 posted on 01/02/2004 4:58:26 PM PST by spoonfork2000
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To: cyncooper
I wouldn't give these people anything. The Bush adminstration should sign nothing.
10 posted on 01/02/2004 5:00:50 PM PST by patriciamary
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To: cyncooper
This is a serious matter. It does make it a little more difficult to feel sorry for the CIA operative and her husband when they do a photo shoot for Vanity Fair, nevertheless, revealing the names of clandestine and covert operators can get people killed, not to mention the loss for our national security.
11 posted on 01/02/2004 5:03:48 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: arasina
For an administration that at times holds a very dim view of the press, the reputation of the Bush White House and the future of some of its officials may hang on the profession’s ethical standards.

I'm sure the Time writer is delighted that someone in the Bush Administration (if that is indeed where the leak came from) is now at the mercy of the media.

12 posted on 01/02/2004 5:05:34 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: cyncooper
This "agreement" will not hold water; the reporter-source privilege lies with the REPORTER, not the source.

Even if everybody at the White House were to sign this thing -- which I cannot imagine why ANYBODY would sign away their confidentiality -- the reporter is the one who would have to decide to "give up" the source.

It's not going to happen.
13 posted on 01/02/2004 5:07:28 PM PST by Howlin (Bush has stolen two things which Democrats believe they own by right: the presidency & the future)
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To: Zack Nguyen
Read the link in #6 and then come back and tell me about national security.

Everybody in D.C. knew who she was -- for YEARS.
14 posted on 01/02/2004 5:09:53 PM PST by Howlin (Bush has stolen two things which Democrats believe they own by right: the presidency & the future)
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To: Zack Nguyen
That's why I want to know who the democrat is who told Cliff May about Wilson's wife. Before the Novak article had even appeared in print.

The problem here seems to be the assumption of some that it was the WH who leaked in effort to harm the Wilsons, when all credible accounts to date indicate the information was a) not a secret, and b) offered up to explain the otherwise unexplainable reason Joseph Wilson, of all people, was sent by the CIA to Niger.

Also, the only wrongdoing to date appears to be by a small group within the CIA who were trying to undermine the U.S. War on Terror.

Yes, this is a very serious matter.
15 posted on 01/02/2004 5:13:14 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: patriciamary
I say they should all sign. They aren't the leakers anyway.

The reporters will still play coy and pretend like they know someone in the administration was the leaker when they good and well it was not. But they can claim their "reporter confidentiality" ethic and get to play the game from both sides.
16 posted on 01/02/2004 5:14:39 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: spoonfork2000
Heavens! They are all panting at the prospect of bringing down this administration. They were even invoking the word "impeachment", as ludicrous as that is regarding this story, a few months ago.

They'll disregard anything that illustrates the deviancy of dems for as long as they can get away with it.

17 posted on 01/02/2004 5:17:02 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: cyncooper
Hey, FBI. Up yours.

Signed:

A senior administration official.
18 posted on 01/02/2004 5:21:25 PM PST by jackbill
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To: cyncooper
If this was an issue that hurt Democrats, the media would be calling the FBI a bunch of NAZIs for asking them to reveal their sourses.
19 posted on 01/02/2004 5:31:43 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

To: Zack Nguyen
nevertheless, revealing the names of clandestine and covert operators can get people killed, not to mention the loss for our national security.

This is true, if she truly was an undercover operative. I still doubt this. What I find frightening in the the other article is that during their "make-out" session she would reveal such a thing. If that is the kind of operatives we have, then we are in deep, deep trouble.

21 posted on 01/02/2004 5:52:58 PM PST by SeaDragon
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To: Howlin
It may well be true that Mrs. Plame was loose-lipped when dealing with national security. But that doesn't matter if a law was broken. For every Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, there are probably 10 clandestine operatives who risk life and limb and stay quiet. The law is in place to protect those people. Stealing is a crime, even if you leave the door unlocked.
22 posted on 01/02/2004 6:00:04 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Howlin
It may well be true that Mrs. Plame was loose-lipped when dealing with national security. But that doesn't matter if a law was broken. For every Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, there are probably 10 clandestine operatives who risk life and limb and stay quiet. The law is in place to protect those people. Stealing is a crime, even if you leave the door unlocked.
23 posted on 01/02/2004 6:00:20 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: cyncooper
That's why I want to know who the democrat is who told Cliff May about Wilson's wife.

I haven't heard about this.

25 posted on 01/02/2004 6:02:27 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: SeaDragon
What I find frightening in the the other article is that during their "make-out" session she would reveal such a thing.

If that is story is true it's a real problem. Yet the fundamental principle remains.

26 posted on 01/02/2004 6:03:28 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: seamole
See the link at #6? I went and read the article and a few things clicked in my head regarding timelines and what was going on last summer. I posted a long ramble AT #92 about it over there if you care to see what you think. You are one who has been following the Wilsons, right?
27 posted on 01/02/2004 6:10:27 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: Big Midget
So if the WH wants it to, the whole truth about this incident will soon come out.

No, it won't. Since they didn't leak than there is nothing for a journalist to reveal.

The "leak", if it can be described as such, came from another source. This step will merely eliminate the WH from the list of "suspects".

28 posted on 01/02/2004 6:12:36 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: Zack Nguyen
It's true. I heard him tell about it myself on tv. He said it was told to him because May was saying (more or less) "Why the HELL was Joe Wilson of all people sent to Niger? He hates Bush", and the dem said "Well, his wife is CIA", which May said was said in a tone like "Wilson isn't like unpatriotic or something."

May also wrote about it on the NRO blog.

29 posted on 01/02/2004 6:14:59 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: Zack Nguyen
Yet the fundamental principle remains.

Exactly which fundamental principle did you have in mind here?

30 posted on 01/02/2004 6:19:20 PM PST by SeaDragon
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To: Zack Nguyen
But that doesn't matter if a law was broken.

That hasn't even been established. It's still an open question as to whether or not a law was even broken.

Let's hope Fitzgerald gets to the bottom of THIS ENTIRE MATTER, including why in the world a man who HATES GWB and openly hopes to bring his administration down was given this assignment in the first place.

31 posted on 01/02/2004 6:21:24 PM PST by alnick
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To: cyncooper
If Clinton were in office, Reno would have simply refused to investigate from the beginning, as she did with the Chinese fundraising. Sometimes the GOP is its own worst enemy.

And pardon me while I puke on this "victim" status some people have built up for Plame and Wilson. They knew what they were doing, which was conducting an unsanctioned "investigation" (not really worthy of that term) with a preconceived conclusion in mind. It was a hit job on the Bush administration, and when the Bush administration hits back they cry and wail about some anonymity BS.

Gag! This entire affair disgusts me.

32 posted on 01/02/2004 6:26:42 PM PST by squidly (Although prepared for martyrdom, I prefer that it be postponed.)
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To: cyncooper
Do Americans even care about this? I have no clue- not being in the US- but it just doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would get most people worked up.
33 posted on 01/02/2004 6:59:44 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: Prodigal Son
I have no idea what regular Americans think, but the media acts, as they did tonight with this revelation that the FBI wants these forms signed, as if some BIG STORY is going on.

TIME and CNN in particular are anxious to paint Karl Rove as the chief suspect even though Robert Novak has specifically said it was not Rove. In fact, Novak has said it was not the WH.

34 posted on 01/02/2004 7:07:37 PM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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To: Prodigal Son
Do Americans even care about this?

No. And Wilson and Plame are splashing themselves all over the press to prolong their fifteen minutes.

This is a damned joke, IMO. Plame was known all over Washington as a CIA employee.

She was NOT an operative.

35 posted on 01/02/2004 7:11:28 PM PST by sinkspur (Adopt a shelter dog or cat! You'll save one life, and maybe two!)
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To: cyncooper
but the media acts, as they did tonight with this revelation that the FBI wants these forms signed, as if some BIG STORY is going on.

Yeah, but... Aren't Americans too occuppied with Enron to be concerned with this right now? ;-)

36 posted on 01/02/2004 7:13:46 PM PST by Prodigal Son
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To: sinkspur
She was NOT an operative.

Then WTF?

No blown cover? She's an office worker who pushes paper like the thousands of other staffers at Langley. This is much ado about nothing.

37 posted on 01/02/2004 7:38:51 PM PST by demlosers (Light weight and flexible - radiation shielding is solved.)
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To: SeaDragon
The fundamental principle of protecting the identity of clandestine intelligenece operatives. Somebody gave that name up. He/she needs to be held accountable.
38 posted on 01/02/2004 9:02:14 PM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: elli1; aristeides; cyncooper; seamole; Zack Nguyen; Howlin; demlosers; sinkspur
Here's a French article, Oct. 10, from the paper "Liberation"


http://www.izaronews.org/noticias/(28_09_03)/extranjera2.htm

Interestingly, it mentions Rock Creek and that Wilson is a "Francophile". It sounds like the French are familiar with him indeed.

"LIBERATION (01-10-03)
Bush dans les affres de l'affaire Wilson
La Maison Blanche aurait balancé un espion de la CIA.
A le voir comme ça, Joe Wilson, consultant et ancien ambassadeur, n'a l'air de rien. C'est un type direct et simple, démocrate, francophile, spécialiste de l'Afrique et de l'Irak, consultant au cabinet Rock Creek Corporation."

Elsewhere I noted the VF article, if you connect the dots from it's random facts, Wilson's second wife is/was a French diplomat.

Also, the writer seems to have asked Wilson about his business dealings, briefly. He states that for a private concern in London he solicited a gold mining rights from the government of Niger - the same government he exonerated.

VF also mentions Rock Creek and Saudis, but doesn't press him. It seems he sidestepped the Saudi issue altogether, though the author's attention to the issue is very meager.
39 posted on 01/02/2004 9:21:17 PM PST by Shermy
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

To: seamole
I saw that, yes. And there's bits and pieces out there in other places.

I'm surprised nobody has done an in depth article on this guy...maybe too murky.

One can always hope though...

No one else but me on the web seems mentions the gold mine statement in the VF article...It jumped out at me...maybe it's just "me"...or maybe there's a lot of smarter people out there who don't spend five bucks on a rag like VF.

;-)
41 posted on 01/02/2004 9:57:15 PM PST by Shermy
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

To: Zack Nguyen
The fundamental principle of protecting the identity of clandestine intelligenece operatives. Somebody gave that name up. He/she needs to be held accountable.

Ah yes, I understand that principle and it is a good one. If that was the case then someone should be held accountable but do you really believe that this woman was an undercover operative? I certainly don't.

44 posted on 01/02/2004 10:53:46 PM PST by SeaDragon
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

To: Zack Nguyen
If Plame was such an undercover operative, why didn't the CIA object more strenuously when Novak called them and told them he was was going to name her in his article. As I remember Novak's version he called the CIA to get confirmation she worked there. The CIA said they would rather Novak didn't name her, but made no big deal.

Novak is an experienced reporter. If the CIA had said, 'No, under no circumstance name her,' Novak wouldn't have. But instead the CIA just shrugged. That should give you an indication of just how 'undercover' she was.

And IMHO Novak learned Plame worked for the CIA from sources at the State Dept. If you wanted to find out the background of a former ambassador, wouldn't that be where you would call?

Anyway, what I am really interested in is finding out more about what Wilson and Dem Senators talked about at a 'policy luncheon' last May, about six weeks before Wilson publicly attacked Bush. Wilson has said he 'mentioned' his trip to them, but I'm betting there was was more discussed between the publicity hound and Dem Senators desperately looking for ways to attack Bush after the successfully liberation of Iraq.
46 posted on 01/03/2004 4:52:40 AM PST by Gothmog
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To: Gothmog
Novak is an experienced reporter. If the CIA had said, 'No, under no circumstance name her,' Novak wouldn't have. But instead the CIA just shrugged.

If the CIA had said, "Oh dear God, don't put her name in print" that might have inspired more digging on the part of nosy journalists. They don't want to give them more info than they already have.

The principle here is that clandestine operatives must be concealed, because in some cases if that info is revealed people get killed.

I'd like to know more about Joe Wilson's talks with Democrats, too.

47 posted on 01/03/2004 7:19:01 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: SeaDragon
Well obviously I don't know for sure. But if she was an employee of the Directorate of Operations, and her employment status was as a clandestine operative, it doesn't matter if her employment was an open secret, its still against the law to reveal her name.
48 posted on 01/03/2004 7:21:06 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: SeaDragon

Ah yes, I understand that principle and it is a good one. If that was the case then someone should be held accountable but do you really believe that this woman was an undercover operative? I certainly don't.

My thinking is that the question pivots on why she would have suggested her husband for the Niger trip--as in, was she operating undercover within the CIA? She knew full well that Wilson was highly partisan & most likely knew that he had other conflicts of interest as alluded to w/ the business interests. Most importantly, this episode has exposed operational weaknesses w/in CIA to say nothing of the political ideology of those involved in approving Wilson's ''mission''. It's a tale of personal & perhaps institutional political ideology & individual financial interests trumping national interests and that is The Story.

IMO, all of this pissing & moaning about laws being broken is like demanding the prosecution of the person who knocked down your door & dragged your butt out of a warm & cozy bed when they did so because flames were licking out of your living room window.

49 posted on 01/03/2004 8:11:15 AM PST by elli1
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To: seamole; Shermy
BTW, that puts Wilson at a seminar organized by the Sahel Club of Paris in May 13-14, 2003. The list of attendees is a virtual who's who of the Axis of Weasels' diplomatic corps.

Thanks to you both for your fascinating links and excerpts.

I am just convinced that there were two plans to try to bring down Bush and Blair, both on the charges that they "lied" about intelligence.

I noted the above May dates of Wilson at a seminar.

Look when Dr. Kelly (who I think was definitely stabbing Blair in the back with his "sexed-up" charge and killed himself once the jig was up) met with the reporter Gilligan----a reporter Kelly would have avoided had he been an honorable sort. After all, it was Gilligan during the war that "reported" that Coalition forces were NOT at Baghdad Airport. What kind of person must Kelly have been to have met secretly with Gilligan and murmur about Dossiers containing lies and that Blair had misrepresented British intelligence in order to go to war? Not a very good person, is my assessment.

Anyway, the date Kelly met with Gilligan was May 22.

Kelly Hearing

Excerpt:

Q32 Andrew Mackinlay: Okay. You met Gilligan, I think, for the first time about two and a half years ago?

Dr Kelly: Not to my recollection. The first time that I remember meeting him was at a meeting in September of last year.

Q33 Andrew Mackinlay: September 2002?

Dr Kelly: Correct.

Q34 Andrew Mackinlay: How many times have you seen him since?

Dr Kelly: Twice.

Q35 Andrew Mackinlay: On what occasions?

Dr Kelly: A day in February, a date I cannot remember, I am having difficulty locating it, and the now infamous May 22 meeting.

Q36 Andrew Mackinlay: Of this year?

Dr Kelly: Of this year.

END EXCERPT

Now, the dossier and its contents had been around. What moved Kelly to meet with Gilligan in May?

50 posted on 01/03/2004 9:17:40 AM PST by cyncooper ("The evil is in plain sight")
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