View Full Version : Rove Testifies Fourth Time On CIA Leak

10-14-2005, 10:19 AM
Rove testifies fourth time on CIA leak


By Adam Entous
55 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, went before a federal grand jury for a fourth time on Friday as prosecutors neared a decision on whether to bring charges over leaking a covert CIA operative's name.

Rove, the most powerful and controversial political strategist in Washington, made no comment as he entered the federal courthouse to begin his testimony, hoping to convince grand jurors that he did nothing illegal.

Prosecutors have told Rove that they can not guarantee that he will not be indicted over the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity.

Plame's diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson, asserts administration officials outed his wife, damaging her ability to work undercover, to discredit him for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy in a New York Times opinion piece on July 6, 2003.

While special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could bring charges against officials for the crime of knowingly revealing the identity of an undercover CIA operative, several lawyers in the case said he was more likely to bring a broad conspiracy charge or easier-to-prove crimes such as making false statements and perjury.

Fitzgerald could send out "target" letters to senior administration officials at any time, and bring indictments as early as next week, the lawyers said.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, says his client was not part of "any scheme to punish Joe Wilson by disclosing the identity of his wife."

Fitzgerald might also decide that no crime was committed and issue a report of his findings.

The outcome could shake up an administration already reeling from criticism over its response to Hurricane Katrina and the indictment of House of Representatives Republican leader Tom DeLay of Texas on charges related to campaign financing.

The White House assured the public two years ago that Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, had no role in the Plame leak.

Since then, reporters have identified Rove and Libby as their sources.

Judith Miller, the New York Times reporter who was jailed for 85 days before reaching an agreement to reveal her source, testified twice before the grand jury about three conversations she had with Libby. Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper testified Rove was the first person to tell him that Wilson's wife worked at the "agency," or CIA, though Cooper said Rove did not disclose her name. Cooper also discussed Wilson and his wife with Libby.

In Friday's grand jury session, Fitzgerald was expected to press Rove to explain any inconsistencies between his previous testimony and the statements of other witnesses, including Cooper.

Zachary Carter, a former U.S. Attorney in New York, said any time an official testifies multiple times "there's always the risk that they may be perceived as having testified inconsistently."

Fitzgerald appears to be focusing on evidence that top White House officials began seeking information about Wilson and his wife in June 2003, if not sooner.

Wilson had investigated for the CIA an administration charge that Iraq was seeking nuclear materials in Niger and concluded it was unsubstantiated. Cheney's office was eager to discredit Wilson's findings and his assertion that he was sent to Niger at the urging of the vice president, critics say.