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

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rove failed to tell grand jury information

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- A discrepancy between the grand jury testimony of Karl Rove and Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper is the reason Rove will testify again.

Newsweek reports investigators have found an e-mail confirming a meeting between Cooper and Rove, President Bush's top political adviser.

Rove failed to disclose the meeting both during a 2003 FBI interview and during his first appearance before a federal grand jury investigating the leak to the press of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Rove will testify before the grand jury for a fourth time this week.

Cooper told the grand jury Rove disclosed the name of Plame and that she was the wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson -- who had recently written an op-ed in the New York Times challenging the White House claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons.

The National Journal reported Friday Rove assured President Bush two years ago he did not leak the Plame's name.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved

Letter shows Cheney aide was prodded in leak probe - Yahoo! News

By Adam Entous

A top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney got a push from a prosecutor before telling New York Times reporter Judith Miller that he wanted her to testify in a probe into the outing of a CIA operative whose diplomat husband was an Iraq-war critic.

The prosecutor's encouragement, in a letter obtained by Reuters, has prompted some lawyers in the case to question whether Cheney's aide was acting completely voluntarily when he gave Miller the confidentiality waiver she had insisted on.

The investigation has spotlighted free-press issues and the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to defend its Iraq policy against critics.

Miller maintains she only agreed to testify -- after spending 85 days in jail -- because she received what she describes as a personal and voluntary waiver of confidentiality from her source. She dismissed an earlier waiver by Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, as coerced.

But Libby offered a new waiver that Miller accepted after he received a September 12 letter in which the prosecutor, investigating a possible White House role in the leak, repeatedly encouraged him to do just that.

"I would welcome such a communication reaffirming Mr. Libby's waiver," prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald told Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate.

"It would be viewed as cooperation with the investigation," Fitzgerald said.

Some lawyers in the case called the letter a thinly veiled threat seeking Libby's cooperation, and said it raised questions about whether Libby's waiver was as voluntary as Miller and her lawyers had described.

Others said it was not coercive.

"Is that pressure? Absolutely," said Richard Sauber, a Washington lawyer who represents Time magazine's Matt Cooper, who has also testified to the grand jury. But he added, "It is not unfair and it is not unduly coercive."

Fitzgerald has been investigating Libby, President George W. Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove and other administration officials over the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, and lawyers involved in the case said there were signs Fitzgerald might be preparing to bring charges.

Plame's husband, Joseph Wilson, has accused the administration of leaking her name and damaging her ability to work undercover in retaliation for his criticisms of Bush's Iraq policy.

Wilson had investigated for the CIA an administration charge that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials in Niger and concluded it was unsubstantiated, then he publicly accused the administration of twisting intelligence on Iraq.

Fitzgerald said in the September 12 letter that he was not seeking to compel a more-explicit confidentiality waiver.

"Mr. Libby, of course, retains the right not to so reaffirm his waiver ... if he would prefer that the status quo continue and Ms. Miller remain in jail rather than testify about their conversations," Fitzgerald wrote.

A lawyer in the case, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said, "It's coercive to have the prosecutor, at end of his investigation, say: 'Unless you take this additional step, I'm going to draw a negative inference against you."'

Jane Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, said Fitzgerald's letter sounded reasonable on the surface, but the reference to cooperation could be taken either way.

"If you think you might be a target of an investigation, being cooperative could be viewed as a desirable thing to be," Kirtley said.

Marvin Kalb of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government said, "Libby took the hint."

Three days after Fitzgerald's letter, Libby on September 15 wrote directly to Miller urging her to testify. The New York Times has released copies of Libby's letter, but not Fitzgerald's.

On Sept 30, Miller testified before the grand jury about two conversations with Libby in July 2003.

Fitzgerald has summoned Miller again for a meeting on Tuesday after she found notes from an earlier, previously undisclosed conversation with Libby. The Times reported the conversation was on June 25, 2003.

Those notes could help Fitzgerald establish that Libby and other White House officials took an early interest in the backgrounds of Wilson and Plame, and talked to reporters, as reports of Wilson's investigation were surfacing but before he went public in a July 6, 2003, opinion piece in the Times.

CIA leak probe puts Bush's top adviser under a cloud - Yahoo! News

President George W. Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, remains under a cloud of speculation after being called to testify yet again in an investigation into the leaked identity of a CIA agent.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has decided to call Rove to testify for a fourth time, a dramatic twist as the high-stakes investigation draws to a close this month.

Casting a wide net over nearly two years, Fitzgerald has been investigating who in the government leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame and whether any crime was committed as a result.

The case dates back to July 2003, when a conservative commentator with close ties to the Republican party, Robert Novak, published Plame's name.

The CIA agent is the wife of Joseph Wilson, a former US ambassador who publicly questioned the Bush administration's justification for the war in Iraq.

Under US law, revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent is a federal crime, though it remains unclear if Plame fell into that category.

The opposition Democrats called the leak an act of political revenge and demanded the White House reveal who had revealed the agent's name.

Wilson promptly pointed to Rove as the likely source.

"At the end of the day, it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs," Wilson said.

"And trust me when I use that name, I measure my words."

Suspense has been building over whether Rove, known as the mastermind behind Bush's political strategy and election campaigns, will be indicted or emerge unscathed.

The prosecutor has called in numerous officials from the Bush administration to testify and sent a journalist from The New York Times to prison for refusing to reveal who she spoke to in the White House.

The reporter, Judith Miller, who never wrote a story, was freed last month after 85 days in jail. She said her source gave her permission to discuss their conversation before a grand jury.

Miller has identified one of her sources as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Another reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, said in July that Karl Rove told him Wilson's wife was a CIA agent.

By agreeing to testify, Rove has exposed himself to the risk of indictment though his lawyers say they have not received a "target letter" indicating charges were imminent.

Bush has described Rove, 54, as the "architect" of his victorious re-election campaign last year. He has earned a reputation for political savvy and for employing sometimes ruthless tactics against his opponents.

Any indictment of Rove would deliver a damaging blow to Bush, who is already facing the lowest approval ratings of his presidency.

At one point, Bush said that he would fire whoever leaked the information.

As Washington awaits the outcome of the probe, Rove has kept a lower profile.

Usually, Rove attends presidential press conferences but last Tuesday, Rove was absent.

CIA Leak: Karl Rove and the Case of the Missing E-mail - Newsweek Periscope -


Oct. 17, 2005 issue - The White House's handling of a potentially crucial e-mail sent by senior aide Karl Rove two years ago set off a chain of events that has led special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to summon Rove for a fourth grand jury appearance this week. His return has created heightened concern among White House officials and their allies that Fitzgerald may be preparing to bring indictments when a federal grand jury that has been investigating the leak of a CIA agent's identity expires at the end of October. Robert Luskin, Rove's lawyer, tells NEWSWEEK that, in his last conversations with Fitzgerald, the prosecutor assured Luskin "he has not made any decisions."

But lawyers close to the case, who asked not to be identified because it's ongoing, say Fitzgerald appears to be focusing in part on discrepancies in testimony between Rove and Time reporter Matt Cooper about their conversation of July 11, 2003. In Cooper's account, Rove told him the wife of White House critic Joseph Wilson worked at the "agency" on WMD issues and was responsible for sending Wilson on a trip to Niger to check out claims that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. But Rove did not disclose this conversation to the FBI when he was first interviewed by agents in the fall of 2003—nor did he mention it during his first grand jury appearance, says one of the lawyers familiar with Rove's account. (He did not tell President George W. Bush about it either, assuring him that fall only that he was not part of any "scheme" to discredit Wilson by outing his wife, the lawyer says.) But after he testified, Luskin discovered an e-mail Rove had sent that same day—July 11—alerting deputy national-security adviser Stephen Hadley that he had just talked to Cooper, the lawyer says. In the e-mail, Rove said Cooper pushed him on whether the president was being hurt by the Niger controversy. "I didn't take the bait," Rove wrote Hadley, adding that he warned Cooper not to get "far out in front on this." After reviewing the e-mail, Rove then returned to the grand jury last year and reported the Cooper conversation. He testified that the talk was initially about "welfare reform"—a topic mentioned in the e-mail—and that Cooper then changed the subject. Cooper has written that he doesn't recall a discussion of welfare reform.

Why didn't the Rove e-mail surface earlier? The lawyer says it's because an electronic search conducted by the White House missed it because the right "search words" weren't used. (The White House and Fitzgerald both declined to comment.) But the e-mail isn't the only belatedly discovered document in the case. Fitzgerald has also summoned New York Times reporter Judith Miller back for questioning this week: a notebook was discovered in the paper's Washington bureau, reflecting a late June 2003 conversation with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, about Wilson and his trip to Africa, says one of the lawyers. The notebook may also be significant because Wilson's identity was not yet public. A lawyer for the Times declined to comment.

—Michael Isikoff

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.