In a legal brief filed late Thursday in federal court, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald accuses lawyers for Scooter Libby of trying to "graymail" the government by demanding access to thousands of pages of classified documents that Fitzgerald says are irrelevant to his defense.
"Graymailing" -- a tactic used to varying degrees by defendants in the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s -- occurs when a government official charged with a crime demands access to large quantities of classified material in an attempt to force prosecutors either to put national security at risk by producing the material or put the prosecution at risk by allowing the defendant to argue that he can't get a fair trial without it.
Libby and his lawyers, Fitzgerald says, are doing exactly that now.
Libby has demanded the production of approximately 277 presidential daily briefings from 2003 and 2004, apparently to show that he was so "preoccupied" with important national security matters that he might have a hard time remembering the truth about what he told whom about Valerie Plame. Fitzgerald says the request is "nothing short of breathtaking."