Watergate II : Karl Rove : the noose tightens


Richard Moore


Time Reporter Says He Learned Agent's Identity From Rove

Matthew Cooper Says I. Lewis Libby Confirmed Information

Oct. 31 2005 - - One of the reporters at the center of the
investigation into the leak of the identity of an
undercover CIA officer, says he first learned the agent's
name from President Bush's top political advisor, Karl

Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper also said today in an
interview with "Good Morning America," that the vice
president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
confirmed to him that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife,
Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative.

A grand jury charged Libby on Friday with five felonies
alleging obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury
and making false statements to FBI agents. If convicted,
he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25
million in fines. Libby was not charged with the crime
that the grand jury was created to investigate --
specifically, who leaked the name of Plame to reporters in
2003. Rove has not been charged.

Wilson, who went to Niger in 2002 to investigate whether
or not the country was supplying Iraq with uranium to make
weapons of mass destruction, opposed the war. He said he
found no evidence of such an exchange in an op-ed in The
New York Times. Wilson has argued that the Bush
administration revealed his wife's identity in order to
silence his opposition to the war.

"There is no question. I first learned about Valerie Plame
working at the CIA from Karl Rove," Cooper said.

Libby has since claimed that he heard the Plame rumors
from other reporters. Cooper disputed that version of
events. "I don't remember it happening that way," he said.
"I was taking notes at the time and I feel confident."

If a trial goes ahead, Cooper said he would name Rove as
his source of the information.

"Before I spoke to Karl Rove I didn't know Mr. Wilson had
a wife and that she had been involved in sending him to

This update corrects two errors in an earlier version of
the story, which referred to Nigeria instead of Niger, and
stated that Libby in his conversations with a Time
reporter referred to Valerie Plame as a covert CIA
operative.  ABC News regrets the error.

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures 


Prosecutor Narrows Focus on Rove Role in CIA Leak 
By David Johnston and Richard W. Stevenson 
The New York Times 

Friday 04 November 2005 

Washington - The prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case has
narrowed his investigation of Karl Rove, the senior White
House adviser, to whether he tried to conceal from the
grand jury a conversation with a Time magazine reporter in
the week before an intelligence officer's identity was
made public more than two years ago, lawyers in the case
said Thursday.

The special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has centered
on what are believed to be his final inquiries in the
matter as to whether Mr. Rove was fully forthcoming about
the belated discovery of an internal e-mail message that
confirmed his conversation with the Time reporter, Matthew
Cooper, to whom Mr. Rove had mentioned the C.I.A. officer.

Mr. Fitzgerald no longer seems to be actively examining
some of the more incendiary questions involving Mr. Rove.
At one point, he explored whether Mr. Rove misrepresented
his role in the leak case to President Bush - an issue
that led to discussions between Mr. Fitzgerald and James
E. Sharp, a lawyer for Mr. Bush, an associate of Mr. Rove

Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, declined to discuss
his client's legal status, but referred to a statement
issued last week in which he expressed confidence that Mr.
Fitzgerald would conclude that Mr. Rove had done nothing

Mr. Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, declined to
discuss Mr. Rove's legal status. If nothing else, the
uncertainty that continues to surround Mr. Rove's legal
case has led to intense speculation about his standing
within the White House. People with close ties to Mr. Bush
and Republicans who work with officials in the top ranks
of the White House staff said there had been no discussion
about Mr. Rove stepping down if he is not indicted. They
said that any serious consideration of how Mr. Rove should
address his role in the case had been put off until after
Mr. Fitzgerald completes his inquiry into Mr. Rove.

They were responding to an article on Thursday in The
Washington Post, which reported that top White House aides
were discussing Mr. Rove's future and that some of them
doubted that Mr. Bush could put the leak case behind him
as long as Mr. Rove remained in the administration.

Democratic leaders again on Thursday called for Mr. Rove's
resignation, citing Mr. Bush's pledge to demand the
highest ethical standards from his administration. And it
came on top of public expressions of concern from a few
Republicans outside the White House that Mr. Rove's
involvement in the matter reflected badly on the
president. The investigation and the indictment of I.
Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of
staff, appear to have taken a continued toll on Mr. Bush's
political standing. A CBS New poll released on Thursday
put his job approval rating at 35 percent, the lowest of
his presidency in that survey. Mr. Rove did not accompany
Mr. Bush to South America on Thursday morning.

The leak case, which resulted last week in a five-count
felony indictment against Mr. Libby, moved into formal
court stages on Thursday when Mr. Libby was arraigned.

At the heart of the remaining investigation into Mr. Rove
are the circumstances surrounding a July 11, 2003,
telephone conversation between Mr. Rove and Mr. Cooper,
who turned the interview to questions about a 2002 trip to
Africa by Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, who
was sent by the C.I.A. to investigate claims that Iraq had
sought to be buy uranium ore from Niger.

In his testimony to the grand jury in February 2004, Mr.
Rove did not disclose the conversation with Mr. Cooper,
saying later that he did not recall it among the hundreds
of calls he received on a daily basis. But there was a
record of the call. Mr. Rove had sent an e-mail message to
Stephen J. Hadley, the deputy national security adviser,
which confirmed the conversation.

One lawyer with a client in the case said Mr. Fitzgerald
could be skeptical of Mr. Rove's account because the
message was not discovered until the fall of 2004. It was
at about the same time that Mr. Fitzgerald had begun to
compel reporters to cooperate with his inquiry, among them
Mr. Cooper. Associates of Mr. Rove said the e-mail message
was not incriminating and was turned over immediately
after it was found at the White House. They said Mr. Rove
never intended to withhold details of a conversation with
a reporter from Mr. Fitzgerald, noting that Mr. Rove had
signed a waiver to allow reporters to reveal to
prosecutors their discussions with confidential sources.
In addition, they said, Mr. Rove testified fully about his
conversation with Mr. Cooper - long before Mr. Cooper did
- acknowledging that it was possible that the subject of
Mr. Wilson's trip had come up.

It is now known that Mr. Fitzgerald and the grand jury
have questioned Mr. Rove about two conversations with
reporters. The first, which he admitted to investigators
from the outset, took place on July 9, 2003, in a
telephone call initiated by Robert D. Novak, the
syndicated columnist. In a column about Mr. Wilson's trip
four days after the call to Mr. Rove, Mr. Novak disclosed
the identity of Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, a
C.I.A. intelligence officer who was said by Mr. Novak to
have had a role in arranging her husband's trip. Mr. Novak
identified her as Valerie Plame, Ms. Wilson's maiden name.

In was in that conversation that Mr. Rove first learned
the name of the C.I.A. officer from Mr. Novak, according
to lawyers in the case. Mr. Rove testified that up until
then he had heard only fragmentary information about her
from reporters, the lawyers said.

Mr. Rove's second conversation with a reporter was with
Mr. Cooper of Time on July 11, 2003. In that conversation,
Mr. Rove did not mention Ms. Wilson's name, but, according
to Mr. Cooper's account, Mr. Rove did say that she worked
at the C.I.A., may have been responsible for sending her
husband on the trip to Africa and worked on issues related
to unconventional weapons.

In February 2004, when Mr. Rove testified about his
conversations with reporters, he recalled the Novak
conversation, but no other interviews with reporters - an
omission that Mr. Fitzgerald has investigated as a
possible false statement or perjury. Mr. Rove said he had
forgotten the discussion with Mr. Cooper, the lawyers

Mr. Fitzgerald did not learn of the Cooper conversation
until months later when a search of Mr. Rove's e-mails
uncovered the e-mail that he had sent to Mr. Hadley. "Matt
Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he's got a
welfare reform story coming," Mr. Rove wrote in the
message to Mr. Hadley that was first disclosed in July by
the Associated Press.

"When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately
launched into Niger," Mr. Rove wrote. "Isn't this
damaging? Hasn't president been hurt? I didn't take the
bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn't get Time far out
on this."

It is not publicly known why Mr. Rove's e-mail message to
Mr. Hadley was not turned over earlier, but a lawyer in
the case said that White House documents were collected in
response to several separate requests that may not have
covered certain time periods or all relevant officials.
Mr. Rove had no role in the search for documents, which
was carried out by an administrative office in the White

Mr. Rove corrected his testimony in a grand jury
appearance on Oct. 14, 2004, after which Mr. Luskin said
Mr. Rove had answered all questions truthfully.



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