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Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak

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Friday, Oct. 15, 2004
Rove Testifies in Wilson Leak
The president's advisor appears before a federal grand jury

Karl Rove, one of President Bush’s top White House aides, testified this morning before a federal grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's name by administration sources. Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald questioned Rove about his contacts with journalists in what a source familiar with Rove's situation said was his third appearance before the grand jury. "My client appeared voluntarily before the grand jury and has cooperated with the investigation since it began," said Rove's attorney Robert Luskin. "He has been assured in writing as recently as this week that he is not a target of the investigation."

Fitzgerald is trying to find out who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative married to former ambassador Joe Wilson, to several journalists in July 2003. Conservative columnist Robert Novak was the first to disclose Plame’s name in print. In a July 14, 2003 column in the Washington Post, Novak said that two unnamed administration sources had told him that Plame was involved in the CIA’s decision to send her husband to Africa in 2002 to investigate a tip that Iraq had tried to purchase enriched uranium from Niger for its nuclear weapons program. In early July 2003, Wilson wrote an op-ed in the New York Times accusing President Bush of relying on discredited intelligence when he cited the Niger-Iraq link in making the case for invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein. Novak suggested in his column that Plame’s role in dispatching her husband to Niger undermined the credibility of Wilson's accusations against the President. Wilson, in turn, accused Bush administration officials of trying to intimidate him and smear his reputation by leaking his wife’s identity.

Under the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, it is a crime for someone with authorized access to classified information to knowingly disclose the identity of a covert agent. Shortly after the investigation started, Bush ordered everyone in the administration to provide "full cooperation" with the investigation, and Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said the disclosure of Plame's name could be worse than Watergate "in terms of the real-world implications of it." But nobody has come forward to admit to being a source for Novak's column. Besides Rove, a number of other White House aides, including counsel Alberto Gonzales, have gone before the grand jury.

Rove's grand jury appearance comes as Fitzgerald is aggressively pursuing the testimony of two other journalists ensnared in the case, Time's Matthew Cooper and Judith Miller of the New York Times. Three days after Novak’s column appeared, Cooper and two colleagues wrote an article for Time Magazine’s Website saying that “government officials” had told them that Wilson’s wife was a CIA official. Miller was subpoenaed to testify about sources she spoke to while reporting on Wilson, though she never published anything on the subject.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan found Cooper in contempt of court on Wednesday, for the second time, for refusing to testify. (Cooper’s first contempt citation was rescinded when he gave limited information to prosecutors after a source, Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, authorized him and several other journalists to discuss their confidential conversations.) Miller was found in contempt last week. She and Cooper, citing the need for journalists to be able to protect their sources, are appealing the rulings jointly, but no decision is expected from the appeals court until mid-to-late November. They could each face up to 18 months in jail if they lose their appeal.

Novak’s status continues to be a mystery; neither he nor his lawyer, Jim Hamilton, will talk about their contacts with prosecutors. Lawyers for other witnesses in the case have concluded that Novak is cooperating, since he has not been held in contempt. But even if Novak is cooperating and has revealed his sources, these lawyers say, Fitzgerald would want to talk to other journalists to strengthen any case he might bring. And the prosecutor may be seeking to substantiate a Sept. 2003 Washington Post story, which quoted an administration source saying that two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists in retribution for Wilson's comments. The leak was "meant purely and simply for revenge," the official said. Fitzgerald might want to learn if those two officials were the same ones who talked to Novak. Each instance of disclosure of Plame's identity would be a separate crime.

Copyright © 2004 Time Inc. All rights reserved.

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Colleague says armitage was cia leak source { August 29 2006 }
Did rove blow spooks cover { September 16 2003 }
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Fitzgerald calls new grand jury after woodward testimony { November 19 2005 }
Judith freed to testify about source lewis libby { September 30 2005 }
Judith miller cant remember where name came from { October 16 2005 }
Judith miller retires from the times
Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak
Last day of probe keeping whitehouse jittery
Leaders express outrage for libby commuted sentence { July 3 2007 }
Leaker said wilson wife fair game { September 28 2003 }
Libby charges dont address cia leak
Libby lawyer told miller to clear scooter libby { October 16 2005 }
Libby may have hidden cheney role { November 13 2005 }
Libby perjury worse than lewinsky perjury
Libby retains 5th amendment by avoiding pardon { July 3 2007 }
Libby says white house superiors approved leak { February 9 2006 }
Libby scapegoated to protect karl rove { January 24 2007 }
Libby trial delayed right after 2006 elections { February 4 2006 }
Matthew cooper testify after rove lawyers maneuvering { July 7 2005 }
Mcclellan cant clear cheney in cia leak case { June 20 2008 }
Memo central to leak delivered to powell { July 21 2005 }
Nbc russert rebuts libby testimony { February 7 2007 }
New tork times reporter jailed for concealing leak { July 7 2005 }
New york times reporter given top security clearance { October 16 2005 }
Novak claims book was source of leak { August 2 2005 }
Novak points to cia { October 1 2003 }
Novak pokes fun at cia leak
Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }
Pat buchanan says neocons behind whole thing { July 15 2005 }
Powell gives testimony to grand jury
Press secretary says bush behind leak { October 2007 }
Prison fines await those leak cia identities
Probe exposing cia identity { September 29 2003 }
Prosecutor investigating coverup of leak { July 27 2005 }
Prosecutors question Bush on CIA name leak { June 25 2004 }
Reporter held in contempt
Rove and libby worked damage control { July 22 2005 }
Rove blamed libby to jury { October 20 2005 }
Rove called to testify 5th time { April 27 2006 }
Rove confirmed plame indirectly lawyer says { July 15 2005 }
Rove emailed security official about matthew cooper { July 11 2003 }
Rove fight escalates { July 15 2005 }
Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }
Rove mclellan interviewed cia probe { October 23 2003 }
Rove told cooper wilsons wife works for agency { July 11 2005 }
Rove wont face indictment in cia leak case { June 13 2006 }
Story from two senior whitehouse employees
Time magazine talked to rove for plane story
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Time reporters says he first learned of plame from rove { July 18 2005 }
Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }
Whitehouse press secretary contradicts libby { December 2007 }
Wilson suggested rove leaked { September 30 2003 }
Woodward attacked by liberals { November 18 2005 }
Woodward eyed after calling fitzgerald overzealous { November 17 2005 }
Woodward was told of plame before leak { November 16 2005 }

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