The newspaper columnist Robert D. Novak testified today that two high officials in the Bush administration told him the identity of a C.I.A. agent whose unmasking touch off a scandal, but that Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., did not.

The newspaper columnist Robert D. Novak testified today that two high officials in the Bush administration told him the identity of a C.I.A. agent whose unmasking touch off a scandal, but that Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., did not. 2

The newspaper columnist Robert D. Novak testified today that two high officials in the Bush administration told him the identity of a C.I.A. agent whose unmasking touch off a scandal, but that Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr., did not.

Mr. Novak recalled in Federal District Court how former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and the White House political adviser Karl Rove told him the identity of the covert agent, Valerie Wilson. But, Mr. Novak said, “I got no help or no confirmation from Mr. Libby on that issue.”

Nor was Mr. Armitage helpful early on, Mr. Novak said, recalling how Mr. Armitage refused his requests for an interview again and again. “He just didn’t want to see me,” Mr. Novak said.

But finally Mr. Armitage relented, confirming the agent’s identity in a one-on-one interview on July 8, 2003, Mr. Novak said. A day later, Mr. Novak said, Mr. Rove provided additional confirmation.

Mr. Novak was one of several well-known Washington journalists who were called to the stand by the defense today. In addition to Mr. Novak, two others, Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus, both of The Washington Post, also testified that they learned of Ms. Wilson’s identity from administration officials, but not from Mr. Libby. His defense is arguing that he was made a “scapegoat” by the White House to protect Mr. Rove.

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