[Libby attorney Ted Wells] was most effective picking apart the three reporters whose recollections contradict Libby's. He suggested that Tim Russert had the faulty memory. The host of Meet the Press says he didn't tell Libby about Wilson's wife because he didn't know about her status as a CIA employee, but Wells argued that Russert may have been in a position to have known. David Gregory, the NBC White House reporter who works with Russert, had been told by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. Wells argued that Gregory or his colleague Andrea Mitchell, who also claimed to know, would have passed this information on to Russert before he had his conversation with Libby.
David Corn also carries the banner:
And as the two legal teams began their courtroom battle, new information was disclosed about the leak affair, including the revelation that Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary at the time of the leak, had identified Valerie Wilson as a CIA officer to NBC News reporter David Gregory a week before the leak appeared in Robert Novak's July 14, 2003 column, and that Fleischer, during the subsequent criminal investigation, took the Fifth Amendment and demanded (and received) immunity before testifying to Fitzgerald's' grand jury. Fleischer told the grand jury that he had learned about Valerie Wilson's CIA affiliation first from Libby and then from Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. (This directly implicated yet two more White House officials in the scandal.) Gregory, though, did not report the information, and he later declined to talk to Fitzgerald about his conversation with Fleischer. Fitzgerald never subpoenaed him. (In a response to an email from a colleague asking about today's disclosure, Gregory emailed, "I can't help you, sorry.")
I question the assertion that Gregory received the leak "a week" before the Novak column; per the EmptyWheel live account it was July 11, which jibes with the timeline that Libby and Fleischer leaked after they knew Novak's story was set to go.
But maybe - Fleischer got the news on July 7, then headed to Africa, presumably with David Gregory, on the President's trip.
Isikoff of Newsweek at least mentions the Gregory news:
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, Wells asserted for the first time, had gotten immunity from prosecution and then confessed to the FBI that he had personally leaked Plame’s status to NBC White House reporter David Gregory.
OK, it got some play; I am still waiting for the WaPo and NY Times. [Which as of Wednesday morning have no mention of Gregory or Fleischer. However, Josh Gerstein of the NY Sun offers this:
"Ari Fleischer had conversations with reporters about Ambassador Wilson's wife he shouldn't have had," Mr. Fitzgerald said yesterday. He said the disclosures could be traced to a "seed" Mr. Libby planted by mentioning Ms. Plame to Mr. Fleischer during a lunch conversation.
Mr. Wells said one of the reporters Mr. Fleischer talked to about Ms. Plame was an NBC News White House correspondent, David Gregory. The defense attorney said the conversation, which took place during a presidential trip to Africa, took place immediately after Mr. Fleischer discussed Ms. Plame with the White House's communications director, Daniel Bartlett, and was more likely triggered by Mr. Bartlett than by Mr. Libby.
And none of these worthies pick up on the Shuster "exclusive" that Libby destroyed evidence. Keep in mind, Shuster did not get an exclusive interview with anyone - he watched the same presentation as a hundred other reporters and came away with his own exclusive.
[Here, for example, is Josh Gerstein again:
Aside from the finger-pointing at Mr. Rove and the disclosures about Mr. Fleischer, the remainder of the opening arguments of Messrs. Wells and Fitzgerald went largely as anticipated.
Hmm - was everyone expecting Fitzgerald to announce that Libby had destroyed evidence? I don't think so.]