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Prosecutors say CIA leak probe has cost $1.44M

[JURIST] A spokesperson for Patrick Fitzgerald's Office of Special Counsel [official website] told AP Tuesday that the investigation of the CIA leak case [JURIST news archive] has cost taxpayers $1.44 million through August 31, and the Government Accountability Office [official website] is scheduled to release an official spending report on Friday. By comparison, the investigation of President Clinton's Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals cost taxpayers $70 million, and $20 million was spent on an investigation of former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros [Govinfo biography]. The actual amount of total extra spending on the CIA leak case is $333,000, because the salaries of Fitzgerald and other prosecutors were merely transferred from other government departments.

Former vice-presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby [defense profile] was charged last year with obstruction of justice and perjury [PDF indictment; JURIST report] in connection with Fitzgerald's investigation. Libby has pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] and has requested a one-month delay in his trial [JURIST report], which is now scheduled to begin in February. Critics have said that Libby may have told reporters about Plame's identity in retaliation for statements made by her husband that undermined the Bush administration's position that Iraq was seeking uranium for their nuclear weapons program. Columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame's CIA affiliation eight days after Wilson went public with his allegations. In late August former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage admitted through his lawyer [JURIST report] that he was the "initial and primary source" for the Novak column that revealed Valerie Plame Wilson's CIA affiliation. AP has more.

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