Libby Prosecution: Robert Grenier Testimony

The second prosecution witness is Robert Grenier, a former 27-year employee of the CIA who served as the Iraq Mission Manager from October 2002-2004. He was directly below the Deputy Director level and attended Deputies Committee meetings at the National Security Council as the “plus one” for his boss.

Live blog follows below the fold with breaking news also in separate posts.

Saw Libby “quite frequently” “at least twice a week and sometimes three times a week” at Deputies meetings involving Iraq. He was a “business acquaintance” with very little interaction.

“Do you recall a phone message from Scooter Libby on June 11?” He doesn’t recall on his own but has seen supporting documentation to that effect. “Exhibit 701 — A yellow ‘While You Were Out’ message from Scooter Libby.”

Did you often get calls from Libby? “First time it ever happened.”

What was the gist of the conversation with Libby? “CIA people had been complaining about the Office of Vice President.” Libby wanted to verify why Wilson was sent to Niger. “It was complete news to me. I had never heard of it before.”

When did he want answers? “From the context, as soon as possible.” “It was unusual for him to be calling me to begin with and he seemed serious.” Plus, he likely “wanted to get out in front of the story” since Libby had mentioned concerns over Wilson in the press.

He called “Kevin” at the counter-proliferation division (the #2 guy) and neither he nor the chief were available. He talked to someone else and left a message for Kevin. He got a response “probably within a couple of hours.” It was from someone he did not know but was “fully knowledgeable about what had happened.” He got confirmation that CIA had sent Wilson to investigate Niger uranium and went into some detail about the mission. Conveyed that State, Office of VP, and Defense had all “expressed interest” in the issue.

That person “mentioned” that Wilson’s wife worked in the division and was the impetus behind the trip. “I am certain the individual did not tell me the name, only that it was Amb Wilson’s wife.”

At the next Iraq meeting, with DCI, he was called out and handed a note to call Libby. He was “chagrined” thinking he had failed Libby.

He phoned Libby and told him that CIA had in fact sent Wilson and that OVP was not the main driver behind the trip but that State and Defense were also instigators. Libby asked whether “CIA would be willing to reveal that publicly.”

Did you tell him about the wife connection? “I believe I did.” He thinks he told him “something to the effect” that the wife was “why Wilson was sent” but mentioned it “only in passing.”

As to a public announcement about the State/DoD impetus, he told Libby he needed to talk to Bill Harlow, the CIA’s Director of Public Affairs. He went right to Harlow after getting off phone with Libby, got permission, and called Libby back saying “we can work something out” in terms of “language CIA would be able to use with the press.” Libby “seemed pleased” and said Harlow and a OVP press person should work it out. “I believe…the name was Cathy.”

During FBI testimony, “do you recall if you talked about the topic of Mr. Wilson’s wife with Mr. Libby?” He told them that “if I think back, I think I would have said something to Mr. Libby but could not say for certain.”

At the grand jury? “That I may have” but wasn’t sure.”

Since then, have you given it any more thought? Yes. “I’ve been going it over and over in my mind.” Eventually, he came to “feel guilty” thinking “maybe I had revealed too much,” eventually revealing the identity of a CIA officer.

Break at 1222 for lunch. Cross-examination after lunch.

Grueling series of questionings based on reading FBI testimony back to him and asking if he can recall saying that.

Ditto the grand jury. “Do you recall telling the grand jury that you did not recall hearing from CPD that you had not even heard about Mr. Wilson’s wife before meeting with Mr. Libby?” No, “just that I didn’t have a clear memory.” He was “surprised,” on appearing before the grand jury a second time a year and a half later that he had said that.

Even the defense attorneys are annoyed by the constant “I couldn’t tell you without looking at the documents” about even matters such as which dates he appeared before the grand jury. I must say, Grenier’s coming across as very incredible.

“Do you find that your memory improves the further away you get from the event?” “Not all the time.” “What improved was not my specific conversation with Mr. Libby but my recollection of how I felt afterwards.”

Did you at any time after remembering that you felt guilty go and ask Libby not to divulge the information? No.

“If the person at CMD didn’t tell you Wilson’s status was covert, why did you later feel guilty?” “The vast majority of those employees are undercover.”

Testimony ended and witness excused circa 3:15.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. clarice says:

    (Very smart) JOM poster Cecil Turner observes:
    “Libby calls Grossman for info on May 29th, but then waits two weeks to place the “first time ever” call to Grenier on June 11th? Don’t think so, Marc. Score that one for Libby as well: he asked Grossman once, on June 10th.”

  2. Karl says:

    ““Not all the time.” “What improved was not my specific conversation with Mr. Libby but my recollection of how I felt afterwards.””

    How he “felt?” Aww, isn’t that precious!