News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

CIA agent's husband sees W. House cover-up on leak

By Sue Pleming
Thu Jul 14,10:10 AM ET

The husband of a CIA agent whose identity was revealed amid debate over the Iraq war accused the White House on Thursday of being involved in a giant "cover-up" in the scandal and said President Bush should fire his top aide Karl Rove.

Federal investigators are looking into who leaked the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose name appeared in a newspaper column in July 2003, and Rove has emerged as a source for at least one media report on the case.

"What this thing has been for the past two years has been a cover-up, a cover-up of the ... web of lies that underpin the justification for going to war in Iraq," said Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, a former career foreign-service officer who held diplomatic posts in the first Bush administration and served in the Clinton White House.

"And to a certain extent, this cover-up is becoming unraveled. That's why you see the White House stonewalling," Wilson said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show.

Wilson has said repeatedly the leak was aimed at discrediting him for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy in 2003, after a CIA-funded trip in 2002 to investigate whether Niger helped supply nuclear materials to Baghdad.

Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, has been named by a Time magazine reporter as a source who identified the agent.


Rove's lawyer said on Wednesday his client "has been repeatedly assured he is not a target" of the special prosecutor investigating the case and that he had done nothing wrong.

Bush said on Wednesday he would withhold judgment for now and told reporters he had ordered his staff to cooperate with investigators. He has previously said he would fire the leaker.

A growing number of Democrats have called for Rove to resign. Wilson, who briefly served as an adviser to the campaign of Bush's 2004 presidential opponent, Sen. John Kerry, said he thought the president should fire his adviser.

"The president really should stand up and prove to the American people that his word is his bond and fire Karl Rove," said Wilson.

Wilson scoffed at the notion that Rove did not use his wife's name or that he did not realize she was an undercover agent.

"My wife's name is Wilson, it is Mrs. Joseph Wilson, it is Valerie Wilson. He named her, he identified her. That argument I don't believe passes the smell test," said Wilson.

"What I do know is that Mr. Rove was talking to the press and saying things like, my wife is 'fair game.' That is an outrage. It is an abuse of power," Wilson added.

Plame returned to the CIA this month after a year's absence and Wilson said his family had not enjoyed the attention brought by the case. The couple have 5-year-old twins.

The case led to the jailing last week of New York Times reporter Judith Miller who refused to testify about sources she spoke to on the story.

Time reporter Matt Cooper avoided the same fate after Rove waived their agreement to keep his comments confidential. Cooper testified before the investigating grand jury on Wednesday.


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