[JURIST] Court documents filed by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [official website] in the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive] show that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [CBS profile], Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, testified to a federal grand jury that he was authorized by superiors to leak information contained in a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) [Wikipedia backgrounder; definition] to reporters in the summer of 2003. NIEs are prepared to inform high-level government officials of the vulnerabilities, capabilities and probable courses of action of foreign countries. Contents of NIE reports are sometimes declassified and made public, though it is unclear whether that happened in this instance. Fitzgerald also told Libby's defense lawyers that he would seek to introduce Libby's grand jury testimony that he caused at least one other official to discuss NIE information with reporters.
Libby has been charged [PDF indictment; JURIST report] with obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury in connection with the investigation into the leak of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. He pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to the charges last November and will go to trial in 2007 [JURIST report]. Libby is not charged with the leaking the contents of an NIE report and his lawyers have denied speculation that Libby will try to shift blame to his superiors as part of his defense. AP has more.