National Review’s Byron York reports today on the court hearing held Friday in the Lewis “Scooter” Libby case. According to York, Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told the court that it doesn’t matter whether or not Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent when she was mentioned in the famous Robert Novak column.
The court hearing was concerning discovery, a legal term meaning the production of information so that the parties to a lawsuit will be fully informed before the trial begins. In any federal court proceeding, discovery generally tends to be expansive so that the parties are not unfairly surprised at the time of trial.
Libby’s defense attorney, Ted Wells, argued that Plame’s status and whether she was a covert agent mattered a great deal to the defense. Wells appeared to question the covertness of Plame, asking whether she was "classified based on a piece of paper."
Wells asked for a copy of the CIA’s referral to the Department of Justice, but Fitzgerald refused this request, saying that he would file a sealed document with the court. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton reserved decision on this request until he has a chance to review this sealed filing.
Why is Fitzgerald refusing to produce information concerning the status of Plame? Wasn’t this his original charge when he was appointed? The first thing Fitzgerald should have established in his investigation was whether Plame was covert or not. What is he hiding? And why is he hiding it?