WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.
Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.
The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.
Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.
A commenter at this Daily KOS diary asks and answers why Libby flipped:
If this is true, it is the end of the Bush administration. It means that Libby flipped. We can ask why did he flip? In my opinion, the only thing that could flip him is the threat of something close to the death penalty, which means some one died as a consequence of the revelation of Ms Plame's job. Perjury alone wouldn't do it, since he could expect to do time in a minimum security prison with time out for good behavior and a good job at the end of it for keeping his trap shut. So Fitz must have something that really hurts, and the only thing that could really hurt is a certified death.
A couple of other questions:
Doesn't this make the Rethuglican Talking Points TM that it was journalists who outed Plame to the White House a bunch of bull?
If Cheney was the leaker, doesn't it make Bush's stance that he would "find" the leaker a bit like O.J. saying he would find the "real" killers?