Judith Miller inaccurate information about Valerie Plame can be important to the criminal investigation

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff apparently gave New York Times reporter Judith Miller inaccurate information about where Valerie Plame worked in the CIA, a mistake that could be important to the criminal investigation. Miller's notes say I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby told her on July 8, 2003, that the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson worked for the CIA's Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control unit.

Plame, Wilson's wife, never worked for WINPAC, which is on the overt side of the Central Intelligence Agency. She worked on the CIA's secret side, the directorate of operations, according to three people familiar with her work for the spy agency.

The three all spoke on condition of anonymity, citing Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's ongoing grand jury investigation into the leak of Plame's identity in 2003.

Whatever Fitzgerald decides, any public statements he makes will be made in Washington, rather than in Chicago, where he is based as U.S. attorney, spokesman Randall Samborn said.

President George W. Bush declined to say Monday whether he would remove any aide under indictment. "I'm not going to prejudge the outcome of the investigation," he said.

Defense Department officials looked into Miller's claim that she had a security clearance while working as an embedded reporter during the Iraq war, shortly before her conversations with Libby. "For a security clearance you have to go through any number of specific background investigative checks," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

He said reporters who were embedded with military units during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars signed ground rules in which they agreed not to make public sensitive or secret information that they learned while with the unit. A.M.

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