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

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fitzgerald Focuses Again on Rove - Los Angeles Times

By Tom Hamburger, Richard B. Schmitt and Peter Wallsten
Times Staff Writers

3:38 PM PDT, October 25, 2005

WASHINGTON — As his investigation nears a conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has returned his attention to White House adviser Karl Rove, interviewing a Rove colleague with detailed questions about contacts that President Bush's close aide had with reporters in the days leading up to the outing of a covert CIA officer.

Fitzgerald has also dispatched FBI agents to comb the CIA agent's residential neighborhood in Washington, asking neighbors again whether they were aware — before her name appeared in a syndicated column — that the agent, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.

The questioning, described by lawyers familiar with the case and by the neighbors, occurred as Fitzgerald was thought to be readying indictments in the long-running inquiry into the leak of Plame's identity. It is a felony to knowingly identify an undercover agent, and the renewed questions this week suggested that the prosecutor remained focused on the breach of that secrecy.

The inquiry has reached deep into the White House and focuses on Rove and Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.

A deputy prosecutor called Rove's colleague this afternoon and interviewed him in depth about statements Rove may have made to reporters about the case, a lawyer familiar with the case said.

"It appeared to me the prosecutor was trying to button up any holes that were remaining," the lawyer said.

White House officials have declined to comment on the inquiry and on recent reports that Fitzgerald was focusing at least in part on Cheney's office.

"There is a lot of speculation that is going on right now. There are many facts that are not known," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said today. "The work of the special prosecutor continues, and we look forward to him successfully concluding his investigation."


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