A former spokeswoman to Vice President Dick Cheney says she informed Cheney and his former chief-of-staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, about the identity of a CIA operative married to a Bush administration critic.
Cathie Martin testified Thursday during Libby's perjury trial. Prosecutors say Libby lied to investigators trying to determine who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to reporters in 2003. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the White House of falsifying intelligence to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
Martin testified that she informed Cheney and Libby of Plame's identity after learning it from a CIA official. She also said Cheney personally directed efforts to discredit Wilson's allegations.
Libby says he learned of Plame's identity from a prominent television reporter, Tim Russert, host NBC-TV's weekly public affairs program Meet the Press.
Martin is the first person from the vice president's inner circle to testify about Libby's role in the leak. She now serves as a communications assistant to President Bush.
Wilson says he traveled to Niger on behalf of the CIA in 2002 to investigate reports that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had tried to obtain uranium from the central African nation to build nuclear weapons. Wilson says although he found no evidence of any such transactions, President Bush still mentioned the attempted purchase in his State of the Union address in 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.