Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald is trying to pinpoint precisely when and from whom several journalists learned that Joseph C. Wilson IV, an outspoken critic of the administration, was sent on an Iraq-related intelligence mission after a recommendation by his wife, Valerie Plame, a covert CIA employee. Plame's name first appeared in a July 14, 2003, column by [Robert D. Novak].
Novak and his lawyer have refused to comment on whether he has been subpoenaed or interviewed by Fitzgerald's office. He has written that Plame's identity was revealed to him in passing by one senior administration official and confirmed by a second official. He has said the intent was not to expose an undercover CIA employee, but to explain why a critic of the Bush administration was selected to investigate possible efforts by Iraq to buy uranium in Africa after [Cheney] asked for more information on the subject in 2002.
On July 16, two days after Novak's column appeared, Alan Foley, then-director of the CIA's intelligence, nonproliferation and arms control center, told Senate intelligence committee members that he had insisted the White House remove a reference to Niger and uranium from the State of the Union address. The White House maintained there was never any specific reference to Niger in drafts of the speech, nor, it said, had the CIA expressed any objection to referring to reports Iraq had attempted to buy uranium in Africa.
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