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

Friday, October 21, 2005

Possible cover-up a focus in Plame case - Yahoo! News

By Adam Entous

Prosecutors investigating the outing of a covert CIA operative are focusing on whether top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby tried to conceal their involvement from investigators, lawyers involved in the case said on Friday.

Rove, President George W. Bush's top political adviser, and Libby, who is chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, are at the center of federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Plame's identity was leaked to the media after her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, challenged the Bush administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.

The lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Fitzgerald appears likely to bring charges next week in the nearly two-year leak investigation.

The grand jury, which expires on October 28, convened on Friday, but it was unclear what issues they were working on since the panel appears to have completed hearing from witnesses. Fitzgerald is expected to meet with the grand jury early next week for a possible vote on indictments.

One of the lawyers said prosecutors were likely starting to present their final case to jurors, either for bringing indictments or to explain why there was insufficient evidence to do so.

"I would be hesitant to say it's a sign one way or the other," the lawyer said.

Fitzgerald's spokesman declined to comment.

While Fitzgerald could still charge administration officials with knowingly revealing Plame's identity, several lawyers in the case said he was more likely to seek charges for easier-to-prove crimes such as making false statements, obstruction of justice and disclosing classified information. He also may bring a broad conspiracy charge, the lawyers said.

Legal sources said Rove may be in legal jeopardy for initially not telling the grand jury he talked to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper about Plame. Rove only recalled the conversation after the discovery of an e-mail message he sent to Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, had no immediate comment.

Luskin said earlier this week that Rove "has at all times strived to be as truthful as possible and voluntarily brought the Cooper conversation to Fitzgerald's attention."

Libby could be open to false statement and obstruction charges because of contradictions between his testimony and that of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and other journalists. Miller has testified she discussed Wilson's wife with Libby as many as three times before columnist Robert Novak publicly identified her.

Libby has said he learned of Wilson's wife from reporters but journalists have disputed that.

Wilson says White House officials outed his wife, damaging her ability to work undercover, to discredit him for accusing the administration of twisting intelligence to justify the Iraq war in a New York Times opinion piece on July 6, 2003.

After initially promising to fire anyone found to have leaked information in the case, Bush in July offered a more qualified pledge: "If someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration."


  • At 5:16 PM, Blogger i_answer_to_john_most_of_the_time said…

    Your account certainly sounds reasonable. But the fact of the matter is that a decision to go to war didn't have to be made when it was made. A simple decision tree would have shown that the risk simply was not worth the effort. The real risk was not and IS not WMD. The real risk is reinforcing an unstable middle east. AND reducing America's ability to leverage/pressure other issues throughout the world.

    The decision DID NOT have to happen when it did. Nothing material would have changed if the decision had been delayed, PERIOD. The administration/President had a lot of information, BUT that should not have changed the options on the table. If the information on WMD was convincing, it was and still is a very, very bad decision.

    john c


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