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

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Bomb and Karl Rove

by Jonathan Schell

This article will appear in the upcoming issue of The Nation
Like every important government crisis, the outing of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame by the President's chief political adviser, deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, perhaps among others, must be seen in many contexts at once. (As all the world knows, Rove's aim was to discredit Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, who had publicly disproved the administration's claim that Iraq was buying uranium yellow-cake from Niger -- a key element in the Administration's justifications for the Iraq War.) Howard Fineman of Newsweek and Sidney Blumenthal of Salon point to the broader story of Rove's habitual practice of defending his political clients by smearing their competitors and detractors. Blumenthal titles his piece "Rove's War" and Fineman speaks of "The World According to Rove." Frank Rich of the New York Times, on the other hand, suggests that the most important war to look at is the one in Iraq. He says that the injustice to the Wilsons and even to the CIA is secondary: "The real crime here remains the sending of American men and women to Iraq on fictitious grounds." In other words, what's important is not the "war" but the war.

Surely, they are all right. It's true that the harm to the Wilsons cannot be compared to the deaths of thousands in the misbegotten conflict, but it's also true that the resolution of the scandal is likely to have a lasting impact on American politics, and even on the American system of government. Perhaps the most important political question is whether the Bush administration is to be held accountable for any of its actions, or whether it now enjoys complete impunity and a free field of action to do whatever it likes -- from waging war to designing and presiding over systems of torture to breaking domestic law. There are other contexts to consider, too.

If Rich is right that the scandal is really about the Iraq War, then we have to ask what the war was about. The administration's chief answer is weapons of mass destruction and, more particularly, nuclear weapons. The atomic signature is scrawled all over the scandal. It is present, of course, in the uranium the President falsely said Iraq was seeking from Niger. And Plame, as it turns out, worked for the CIA on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. To defend its nuclear lies, the administration destroyed a (possible) source of nuclear truth. The smear campaign thus did double damage in the nuclear-weapon field: It propped up, however briefly, the erroneous justification for the war while shutting down authentic information on the broader problem. The nuclear issue popped up again in a State Department memo Colin Powell brought with him on Air Force One shortly after Wilson's op-ed piece appeared. It is now famous because it disclosed Plame's identity as Wilson's wife. Less noticed is that the bulk of the memo was devoted to rebutting the Niger uranium allegation. This must be one of the most rebutted claims in history. Before Wilson ever spoke up, it had been disproved by several government agencies; the director of the Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei; and, of course, the State Department. (As for Powell, in February 2003 he had told the UN Security Council, "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.")

Whatever else the scandal is, it is also an episode in the six-decade history of the nuclear age. In the wake of the cold war, many people imagined that nuclear danger had disappeared. A decade of utter neglect followed. Then, in 1998, the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests launched the two countries on a nuclear arms race. Soon other countries, including North Korea and Iran, were knocking at the door of the nuclear club. But it wasn't until 9/11 that the neglected peril reared up again in the public mind -- and returned to the center of policy. The fictional danger of an Iraqi bomb bursting in an American city was, of course, the chief justification for the war, but it was more than that. It was the linchpin of the broader policy of preventive military strikes -- necessary, the President said, to forestall the hostile states from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. In his words, "as a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed."

At the root of the policy was a radical reconception of the way to stop proliferation. Hitherto, the policy had been to address it by negotiation and disarmament treaties. Now it was to be addressed by military force. The decade of neglect had led to the most severe collision of nuclear policy with nuclear reality since the Cuban missile crisis. The Iraq War was the result, though not the only one. While the U.S. military was looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, where there were none, it was in effect ignoring them in North Korea, which reportedly was either acquiring or expanding a nuclear arsenal, and in Iran, which was pressing forward down the nuclear path. It's worth recalling that the Vietnam War, too, was in part the product of misguided nuclear strategy. Policy-makers, well aware that they could not win a nuclear "general war" with the Soviet Union in the Central European theater, hoped instead to win a "limited war" with conventional arms on the "periphery." When it went wrong, the consequence was the Watergate crisis, born directly of Nixon's fury at antiwar protesters.

That chain of reasoning died with the cold war, but nuclear danger lived on to produce new and possibly more dangerous illusions. The worst is that the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their associated technology and know-how can be stopped, or prevented in advance, by arms. Once that conclusion was accepted, mere hints of danger, wisps of fact and speculations became actionable, bomb-able. But if there is one thing in this world that cannot be bombed out of existence, it is an illusion. And illusions, when rigidly defended, breed encounters with the law. Thus did a mistaken revolution in nuclear policy, proceeding under the guise of the "war on terror," produce the lies that produced the war that produced the whistleblowing that produced the smears that produced the blown cover that produced the cover-up that produced the legal investigation that produced the political and legal crisis that now swirls around Karl Rove.

Jonathan Schell, author of The Unconquerable World, is the Nation Institute's Harold Willens Peace Fellow. The Jonathan Schell Reader was recently published by Nation Books.

© 2005 Jonathan Schell


Karl Rove’s only full-time foreign-policy advisor is Michael Ledeen, a rabid anti-Arab, pro-Israel activist. The FBI is investigating Ledeen for procuring forged documents (shown here) on nonexistent WMD, which George Bush used to justify his war on Iraq. When Joseph Wilson exposed the farce, Rove helped "out" Wilson’s CIA wife. Did Ledeen procure the documents for Rove, and how might he have done that? The story includes multinational stool pigeon Rocco Martino, Italian spy Francesco Pazienza, wanted CIA spy Robert Seldon Lady, and Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, who’s under charges of giving US secrets to Israel.

Karl Rove’s foreign-policy advisor, Michael Ledeen, proclaimed "the rightness of the fascist cause" in 1972. In 1984 he got George Bush Sr to appoint Iranian arms merchant/Iranian spy/Israeli spy Manucher Ghorbanifar as a middleman in the scandalous Iran-Contra affair. Ledeen has been a fixture in Washington and Israel ever since, advocating a modern version of the Crusades against Islamic nations. Based on what he has said and written, I believe Ledeen is insane.

Michael Ledeen, Rove’s "brain," is one of the leading advocates for a US attack on Iran. The Washington Post quoted Ledeen as saying that Rove told him, "Anytime you have a good idea, tell me." I guess that means we can look forward to the Bush team drumming up a war with Iran. [For more, see articles by Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post -- the main man of the mainstream media pursuing the Rove Scandal.]

George Bush Jr., when he assumed the presidency in 2000, already knew that he was going to settle the family score with Saddam Hussein. His "brain," Rove, quickly enlisted Ledeen to trump up a causus belli.


Rocco Martino is a 66-year-old Italian gentleman SEE PHOTO who worked on and off for the Italian SISMI (analogous to the CIA) for many years and who also peddled the same information to various spy organizations and publications -- a convicted felon and international stool pigeon, just the kind of associate Rove and Ledeen needed.

After being fired by SISMI (for receiving stolen checks, among other things), he convinced the French intelligence in 2000 that he knew all about Africa and the trafficking of conventional and nonconventional arms. To avoid stepping on the toes of Italian intelligence, the French gave him a contact, or handler, in Brussels. Martino’s handler in Brussels asked him to obtain every type of news or reference to contraband uranium from Niger ("NYE-jer), a former French colony in the Sahara desert (not to be confused with ex-British Nigeria in W. Africa), where mining was under the jurisdiction of two companies controlled by the gigantic French mining company Cogema.


Martino soon was knocking at the door of the embassy of Niger in Rome, where he met an Italian functionary (a "lady," by most reports -- but this was no lady, as we shall see). Martino provided the French with documents showing that Iraq may have been planning to expand trade with Niger. In fact, the first set of documents did not refer to uranium, and the trade plans were probably the typical sort of relationship Arab oil states had with a whole range of third-world countries.

Martino was surprised when he saw that the French immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion and thought that the documents indicated an Iraqi interest in uranium. (We now know that Iraq had no nuclear program.) "We need additional confirmation and more detailed information," said the French secret service. Martino set out to satisfy his French patrons with additional documents.


At night, between the first and second of the January 2001, a mysterious thief came to the embassy of Niger in Rome and into the residence of the counselor in charge. It turned out that some letterhead and seals (see photocopy) were missing. A second dossier on Niger-Iraq trade soon came into Martino’s hands, one that included references to uranium trafficking. Martino claims he got it from embassy personnel and that he thought it was authentic.

Martino passed it on to the French secret service, who had paid for it, and also to Panorama [a magazine owned by Bush ally and Italian president Silvio Berlusconi], which assessed it by dispatching a female reporter to Niger. Panorama also turned the file over to the US Embassy in Rome for cross-checking in the US.

The female journalist soon told Martino that the trip to Niger had not produced any real confirmation, and also the French confirmed to Martino that the reports he had passed on to them were groundless. In other words, Bush’s war rationale was debunked way back in 2001 by amateur and professional sleuths.

Furthermore, it was a very amateurish forgery, not likely produced through official channels by any state intelligence agency with their vast resources. However, it was soon resuscitated as the Bush administration, in its first year, ramped up its public relations campaign for war.


Michael Ledeen organized a meeting in Rome to gather evidence to support the planned war. Present were:

1. Michael Ledeen, Karl Rove’s foreign policy advisor and organizer of the meeting

2. Nicolo Pollari, head of the the Italian equivalent of the CIA, or SISMI

3. Italy’s Minister of Defense, Antonio Martino (no relation apparently to the spy Rocco Martino), Pollari’s boss

4. Larry Franklin, an American who presently is being prosecuted in the US for giving classified information to an Israeli front group, AIPC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) -- which some would call "spying," even though he has not been charged with espionage

5. Harold Rhode: member of Dick Cheney’s Office of Special Plans, protege of Ledeen, go-between with Iraqi exile and CIA asset (at the time) Ahmed Chalabi.

Ledeen already had a longstanding friendship with Francesco Pazienza, an Italian felon and forger who had been kicked out of the official Italian intelligence organization SISMI but who had found a new home in the renegade intelligence agency P-2 (Propaganda Due). Pazienza apparently was not present but definitely was known to the Italians as well as Ledeen.

Ledeen also was a personal friend of Pollari, who, like Ledeen, is a master of bridge, the card game (Ledeen writes columns on it). There are close ties between Pollari’s official intelligence organization, SISMI, and Pazienza’s unnofficial one, P-2. In fact, P-2 recruits from SISMI.

This little group dusted off Martino’s discredited second dossier on Iraq-Niger trade, with the uranium references. The Bush administration now had its causus belli.



The accompanying figure shows a bit of the cobbled-up intelligence report on stolen letterheads, forged by amateurs -- most likely Ledeen’s friend, Francesco Panzienza. This document, which can be viewed at the Israeli site, is the "evidence" on which George Bush sent almost two thousand young Americans and untold thousands of Iraqi civilians to their deaths.


Former US Ambassador (to Gabon) Joseph Wilson made the trip, apparently at the suggestion of the CIA and his wife, who worked in the CIA, to determine the authenticity of the charges in Martino’s documents, even though the CIA already could see they were forgeries. Even the Panorama reporter could have saved him the trouble. Wilson reported back to the CIA that there was no proof that Iraq had sought uranium in Niger.


In London, Tony Blair spoke on September 24, 2002, for the first time on the attempts of Saddam Hussein to obtain uranium from Africa. And some time later Bush began to drive in the nail using the same argument. Remember, Martino had delivered the phony dossier this was based on to the US embassy in Rome over a year before. The US State Department and CIA rejected it and even Panorama had debunked it. The Pentagon, too, knew it was false, of course, but the Wolfowitz-Feith-Perle Defense Policy Board axis plus Bush and Cheney and their respective aides, Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby (both now subjects of interest to US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his grand jury in Washington, DC), went with it anyway.

THE REST IS HISTORY: "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein...

...recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." Sixteen little words in Bush’s January 2003 State of the Union message that will be remembered in history with more honorable presidential words like, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (FDR). Bush was going on the forged documents procured by Rocco Martino, debunked by all pertinent experts, and debunked by Joseph Wilson. The US overcame Iraqi opposition -- temporarily (resistance became "suicide," now wonders, for whom?) -- mainly by bombing civilian structures rather than fighting, beginning on March 19, 2003

Wilson’s outraged response to using, for murder, evidence he had debunked got his family, or at least his wife, targeted by that amoral husk of a man, Karl Rove, who, along with I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby (Cheney’s chief aide) outed Valerie Wilson to Robert Novak, Judith Miller (the jailed New York Times reporter and pro-war hawk), Matthew Cooper (Time’s reporter who has jeopardized Rove in a criminal investigation), and numerous other journalists. Most, like Miller and Cooper, wisely resisted Rove’s bait.



The war is not just about oil, Israel’s fears/ambitions, or US hegemony. There are contracts and contractors in Iraq. Modern-day carpetbaggers with briefcases descended like a plague of scorpions on the poor, bloodied, bombed-out, grieving people of Iraq. They included the daughter of the war’s chief banshee -- Simone Ledeen, Michael’s young daughter -- shown in the photo, greeting with an impish smile another occupier at the Baghdad airport -- getting ready to lord it over the Iraqis as she tries out her new MBA working for the CPA. Caption: "The creatures step out of the tripods." Maybe it’ll help to pay off those student loans -- huh?, Michael.


At Ledeen’s (Rove’s brain) meeting with Italian intelligence in December 2001 was one Larry Franklin.

The FBI caught Franklin, 58, meeting two agents of AIPAC, Israel’s US "lobby," in an Alexandria, VA, restaurant in June 2003. AIPAC employees, including the agents, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, had been under FBI surveillance for a couple of years. The FBI was surprised by Franklin’s appearance and began investigating him, too. The FBI arrested Franklin, a Pentagon analyst on Iran and an Air Force Reserve colonel, on May 4, 2005, for illegally disclosing highly classified information to AIPAC -- spying for AIPAC, in other words. He is free on bond and is expected to plead innocent at his trial.

Why hasn’t the FBI arrested the AIPAC agents, Rosen and Weissman, or anyone at the AIPAC? Who in the Bush administration is blocking justice in this case?

For that matter, why hasn’t the FBI interviewed Rocco Martino, the acknowledged and admitted procurer of the phony Niger uranium documents? They are known to be investigating the phony documents.

The United States has had no qualms about getting audacious in Italy by having the CIA abduct an Egyptian cleric, Abu Omar, off the streets of Milan in February 2003, for "exceptional rendering," aka "torture," in Egypt. This open violation of Italian sovereignty was supervised by the CIA’s station chief in Milan, Robert Seldon Lady, formerly of the New Orleans area.


It is my belief that the "Italian functionary," or "a lady," that Martino referred to was actually a Lady, Robert Seldon Lady Sr, the same guy who headed up the torture abduction of Abu Omar.

Italian prosecutor Armando Spataro has just obtained arrrest warrants for 6 more CIA spies in addition to the original 13 that included Robert Lady, in connection with the abduction.

Robert Seldon Lady, 51, lived in Abita Springs, Lousiana, until 2001, when he left for the Milan post. He still has an address in New Orleans, according to Cryptome He and his wife Martha own a villa in the Italian countryside near Penango (Asti) and Turin, where they hoped to retire before he went on the lam. Born in Honduras, he was an affable New York City cop in the 80s who infiltrated leftist groups. He is something of an electronics hacker (at least of cell phones). And now he is a wanted felon in Europe.

During the operation, Lady apparently worked directly with the commander of the 31st Security Police Squadron, Lt. Col. Joseph Romano, USAF, at the Aviano Air Base in Italy. Lt. Col. Romano, who currently works at the Pentagon, also is sought by Italian prosecutors for questioning. At the time, Romano worked under Brig Gen R. Michael Worden, commander of the 31st Fighter Wing, who also should have to answer some questions. The Italian prosecutor could release the photographs of the kidnap-torture perps at any time. This case -- Robert Lady’s kidnapping of Abu Omar -- could become a very big story because of its possible effects on relations between nations.


by : Clayton Hallmark

Rove Scandal: Cover Story Slippage - Yahoo! News

David Corn
36 minutes ago

The Nation -- Another part of the save-Rove cover story is not holding.

Once the Plame/CIA leak became big (mainstream-media) news in September 2003--when word hit that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate the leak, which had appeared in a Bob Novak column two months earlier--friends of the White House, including Novak, started saying that Valerie Wilson wasn't really under cover at the CIA and, thus, the disclosure of her employment at the CIA wasn't worth a federal case (or investigation). They claimed that no big wrong had occurred, and this argument also conveniently offered any leaker a legal defense. Under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, a government official can only be prosecuted for disclosing information identifying a "covert agent" whose cover the United States government was taking steps to protect. White House allies asserted that while Valerie Wilson may have technically been a clandestine CIA official, in practice she wasn't. So all this bother over the leak was much ado about nothing.

Novak, for example, downplayed Valerie Wilson's covert status in an October 1, 2003 column, in which he vaguely described how he had originally learned of her connection to the CIA. He noted that after a senior administration official told him that Joseph Wilson's wife worked at the CIA, he called the CIA:

At the CIA, the official designated to talk to me denied that Wilson's wife had inspired his selection but said she was delegated to request his help. He asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause "difficulties" if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name. I used it in the sixth paragraph of my column because it looked like the missing explanation of an otherwise incredible choice by the CIA for its mission.

Bush-backers have cited this paragraph to argue that the CIA didn't do much to protect Valerie Wilson's cover. I've heard GOP lawyer Victoria Toensing, who helped draft the Intelligence Identities Act, claim that Novak's exchange with the CIA is proof that the CIA was not taking serious measures to preserve Wilson's cover--which means the law she helped concoct does not apply in the case of this leak.

Should Novak be taken at his word on this point? Until now, the public only knew of his side of his conversation with the CIA. But The Washington Post published a piece on Wednesday that provides the CIA's version of this exchange. And it is significantly different from Novak's account. The paper reports,

[Bill] Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission [to Niger taken by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson] and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.

Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.

So how many contradictions can you find? Novak indicated he had one substantive conversation with a CIA official about Valerie Wilson and he received no clear signal that revealing her name would cause any significant trouble. Harlow said there were two conversations and that in each one he warned Novak about using her name. (Harlow also said he told Novak that Valerie Wilson had not authorized her husband's trip. Remember, several Rove defenders have maintained that when Rove spoke to Time's Matt Cooper--and told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and had authorized his trip to Niger--he was merely trying to make sure that Cooper published an accurate account of what happened. Yet the CIA says she did not authorize this trip. Rove was feeding Cooper misleading information.)

Is Harlow telling the truth? Who, besides Novak and him, can know? But I do know that when I spoke to Harlow a year later and asked about the identity of another covert officer, Harlow would not confirm the person's covert status. How could he? That would be sharing classified information with a reporter. When Novak called, Harlow was in no position to say, "Hey, Bob, you're right, and she's an undercover officer. So please don't reveal her name." All he could have done was to toss out a no-comment (which Harlow was good at doing) or offer a vague warning.

Harlow's account--in which he tried to protect Valerie Wilson from the quick-to-out-her columnist--is as self-serving as Novak's. But it rings true. Am I saying this because of my own bias? Perhaps. But the key thing is that Novak's defense--the CIA didn't give me a strong enough signal--is now in dispute. No one can use Novak's October 1, 2003, column as evidence that Valerie Wilson was not truly a "covert agent."

In that article, Novak also declared that Valerie Wilson's position at the CIA was an open secret throughout the nation's capital. His source for this? Journalist-turned-Republican-operative Clifford May. Novak wrote:

How big a secret was it? It was well known around Washington that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Republican activist Clifford May wrote Monday, in National Review Online, that he had been told of her identity by a non-government source before my column appeared and that it was common knowledge.

Indeed, May had written:

On July 14, Robert Novak wrote a column in the Post and other newspapers naming Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.

That wasn't news to me. I had been told that--but not by anyone working in the White House. Rather, I learned it from someone who formerly worked in the government and he mentioned it in an offhanded manner, leading me to infer it was something that insiders were well aware of.

Appearing on Fox News Channel, May amplified this assertion:

"I knew this, and a lot of other people knew it...So I think it may be something of an open secret."

"Insiders" were well aware of Valerie Wilson's job at the CIA? "A lot of other people" knew it, too? In the time since May boasted of his access to this "inside" information, what other evidence has emerged that Valerie Wilson's CIA identity was widely know to "insiders" (whatever that means)? I'll answer that rhetorical question: none. Her neighbors have been quoted saying they did not realize she was a CIA employee. (Maybe these neighbors are not "insiders.") And in recent weeks, attorneys for Karl Rove and Scooter Libby have put out the story that neither one of them knew her name. So these "insiders" were not truly in the know. (Oddly--but, then again, perhaps not--May recently tried to turn tables and argue that I am the one who actually outed Valerie Wilson as an undercover CIA officer. First, he said everyone knew. Now he says only I did. It's hard to keep up.)

Novak and May's claim that Valerie Wilson's CIA position was an open secret known throughout Washington has not held up. Novak's claim that the CIA did not wave him off now stands contested. Will either one of them run a correction?

Case of C.I.A. Officer's Leaked Identity Takes New Turn - New York Times

WASHINGTON, July 26 - In the same week in July 2003 in which Bush administration officials told a syndicated columnist and a Time magazine reporter that a C.I.A. officer had initiated her husband's mission to Niger, an administration official provided a Washington Post reporter with a similar account.

The first two episodes, involving the columnist Robert D. Novak and the reporter Matthew Cooper, have become the subjects of intense scrutiny in recent weeks. But little attention has been paid to what The Post reporter, Walter Pincus, has recently described as a separate exchange on July 12, 2003.

In that exchange, Mr. Pincus says, "an administration official, who was talking to me confidentially about a matter involving alleged Iraqi nuclear activities, veered off the precise matter we were discussing and told me that the White House had not paid attention" to the trip to Niger by Joseph C. Wilson IV "because it was a boondoggle arranged by his wife, an analyst with the agency who was working on weapons of mass destruction."

Mr. Wilson traveled to Niger in 2002 at the request of the C.I.A. to look into reports about Iraqi efforts to buy nuclear materials. He later accused the administration of twisting intelligence about the nuclear ambitions of Iraq, prompting an angry response from the White House.

Mr. Pincus did not write about the exchange with the administration official until October 2003, and The Washington Post itself has since reported little about it. The newspaper's most recent story was a 737-word account last Sept. 16, in which the newspaper reported that Mr. Pincus had testified the previous day about the matter, but only after his confidential source had first "revealed his or her identity" to Mr. Fitzgerald, the special counsel conducting the C.I.A. leak inquiry.

Mr. Pincus has not identified his source to the public. But a review of Mr. Pincus's own accounts and those of other people with detailed knowledge of the case strongly suggest that his source was neither Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, nor I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and was in fact a third administration official whose identity has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Mr. Pincus's most recent account, in the current issue of Nieman Reports, a journal of the Nieman Foundation, makes clear that his source had volunteered the information to him, something that people close to both Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby have said they did not do in their conversations with reporters.

Mr. Pincus has said he will not identify his source until the source does so. But his account and those provided by other reporters sought out by Mr. Fitzgerald in connection with the case provide a fresh window into the cast of individuals other than Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby who discussed Ms. Wilson with reporters.

In addition to Mr. Pincus, the reporters known to have been pursued by the special prosecutor include Mr. Novak, whose column of July 14, 2003, was the first to identify Ms. Wilson, by her maiden name, Valerie Plame; Mr. Cooper, who testified before a grand jury on the matter earlier this month; Tim Russert, the Washington bureau chief of NBC News, and who was interviewed by the prosecutor last year; Glenn Kessler, a diplomatic reporter for The Post, who was also interviewed last year, and Judith Miller of The New York Times, who is now in jail for refusing to testify about the matter. It is not known whether Mr. Novak has testified or been interviewed on the matter.

Both Mr. Pincus, who covers intelligence matters for The Post, and Mr. Russert have continued to report on the investigation after being interviewed by Mr. Fitzgerald about their conversations with government officials.

Mr. Pincus wrote in the Nieman Reports article that he had agreed to answer questions from Mr. Fitzgerald last fall about his July 12, 2003, conversation only after "it turned out that my source, whom I still cannot identify publicly, had in fact disclosed to the prosecutor that he was my source, and he talked to the prosecutor about our conversation."

In identifying Ms. Wilson and her role, Mr. Novak attributed that account to two senior Bush administration officials. One of those officials was Mr. Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff, according to people close to Mr. Rove, who have said he merely confirmed information that Mr. Novak already had.

But the identity of Mr. Novak's original source, whom he has described as "no partisan gunslinger," remains unknown.

Mr. Cooper of Time magazine, who wrote about the matter several days after Mr. Novak's column appeared, has written and said publicly that he told a grand jury that Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove were among his sources. But Mr. Cooper has also said that there may have been others.

Ms. Miller never wrote a story about the matter. She has refused to testify in response to a court order directing her to testify in response to a subpoena from Mr. Fitzgerald seeking her testimony about a conversation with a specified government official between June 6, 2003, and June 13, 2003.

During that period, Ms. Miller was working primarily from the Washington bureau of The Times, reporting to Jill Abramson, who was the Washington bureau chief at the time, and was assigned to report for an article published July 20, 2003, about Iraq and the hunt for unconventional weapons, according to Ms. Abramson, who is now managing editor of The Times.

In e-mail messages this week, Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, and George Freeman, an assistant general counsel of the newspaper, declined to address written questions about whether Ms. Miller was assigned to report about Mr. Wilson's trip, whether she tried to write a story about it, or whether she ever told editors or colleagues at the newspaper that she had obtained information about the role played by Ms. Wilson.

The four reporters known to have been interviewed by Mr. Fitzgerald or to have appeared before the grand jury have said that they did so after receiving explicit permission from their sources, most notably Mr. Libby, who was the subject of the interviews involving Mr. Russert, Mr. Kessler, Mr. Pincus and Mr. Cooper. They have declined to elaborate on their statements, citing Mr. Fitzgerald's request that they and others not speak publicly about the matter.

Mr. Russert, Mr. Kessler and Mr. Pincus have indicated in statements released by their news organizations that their conversations with Mr. Libby were not about Ms. Wilson.

In his article in the Summer 2005 issue of Nieman Reports, Mr. Pincus wrote that he did not write about Ms. Wilson when he first heard the account "because I did not believe it true that she had arranged" Mr. Wilson's trip.

Mr. Pincus first disclosed the July 12, 2003, conversation with an administration official in an Oct. 12, 2003, article in The Washington Post, but did not mention in that article that he himself had been the recipient of the information. He wrote in Nieman Reports that he did not believe the person who spoke to him was committing a criminal act, but only practicing damage control by trying to get him to write about Mr. Wilson.

David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson contributed reporting for this article.