FBI agent shows doubts for Libby's story

Friday, February 2nd 2007, 6:37 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP)_ In a case that hinges on credibility, FBI agent Deborah Bond is making it clear from the witness stand just how believable she finds former White House aide I. Lewis ``Scooter'' Libby to be: not very.

Bond testified Thursday about interviewing Libby in 2003 about the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and the 19-year FBI veteran refused to even use the word ``said'' to describe Libby's statements.

Libby told the FBI that he learned about Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney, then forgot about it and was surprised to hear it again from a reporter weeks later.

``He said that?'' defense attorney Theodore Wells asked.

``That's what he claimed,'' Bond replied.

``He said it,'' Wells persisted, prompting an objection that led U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to step in.

``Did he say that?'' Walton asked.

Bond didn't flinch: ``He told us that, yes,'' she said.

Bond was the first Justice Department official to testify in the trial and is scheduled to return to the witness stand Monday.

The FBI spent three years investigating the leak of Plame's identity to the press. Nobody was charged with the leak but prosecutors say Libby obstructed the case by concocting a story he believed would shield him from prosecution.

Bond is one of the final witnesses in Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case. He plans to play more than eight hours of Libby's grand jury testimony in court Monday and part of Tuesday.

NBC News reporter Tim Russert, who Libby said told him that Plame worked at the CIA, is expected to testify Tuesday as Fitzgerald's final witness. Russert said Plame's identity did not come up in their conversation.

Fitzgerald is expected to rest his case as early as late Tuesday afternoon. Defense attorneys say they'll call Libby and Cheney to testify.