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Times reporter completes testimony in CIA leak probe

WASHINGTON -- New York Times reporter Judith Miller completed her testimony yesterday before a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA officer's name, after being summoned for a second appearance to discuss a previously undisclosed conversation she had had with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.

Miller and her lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, emerged from the courthouse after she testified for more than an hour to grand jurors. Miller and Bennett declined to comment to reporters.

The appearance came a day after Miller surrendered previously undisclosed notes on her June 23, 2003, contact with I. Lewis ''Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, about former US ambassador Joseph Wilson.

The Times said she was summoned specifically to discuss the notes and the conversation with Libby. The paper added that Miller has not escaped legal jeopardy yet because prosecutors have not yet lifted the contempt order that put her in jail for refusing to testify earlier in the investigation.

Libby has testified before the same grand jury. Cheney was interviewed by prosecutors in the criminal investigation more than a year ago.

The special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, is investigating whether a crime was committed when administration officials became involved in leaking the identity of Wilson's wife, CIA officer Valerie Plame, in 2003.

At the time of the leak, Wilson was among a number of critics suggesting the administration had twisted prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear weapons programs to exaggerate the threat from Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Bush aide Karl Rove spoke with columnist Robert Novak and Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper about Wilson's wife in the days after Wilson publicly criticized the administration. Novak exposed Plame's identity as a CIA officer on July 14, 2003, saying his information had come from two administration officials.

Rove faces a fourth grand jury appearance.

The significance of the newly disclosed conversation between Miller and Libby is that it occurred on June 23, 2003, before Wilson's name had surfaced publicly as a critic.

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