Top White House advisor Karl Rove
was one of the secret sources that spoke to reporters about a
covert CIA operative whose identity was leaked to the media,
Newsweek magazine reported in its latest edition.
The magazine said Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed
that Rove talked to Time magazine about former ambassador
Joseph Wilson and his wife, CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Luskin said Rove recently gave Time magazine reporter Matt
Cooper permission to testify about the conversation to a grand
jury investigating the leak in 2003, according to Newsweek.
A U.S. federal judge ordered Cooper, along with New York
Times reporter Judith Miller, to testify and reveal their
Last week Cooper avoided a jail sentence for contempt of
court by agreeing to testify in the case. Miller refused to
testify and was jailed.
The case has become an important test involving freedom of
the press and has pitting the media's traditional use of
anonymous sources against the efforts of a federal government
prosecutor to investigate a possible crime.
It is illegal to knowingly reveal the identity of an
undercover CIA agent.
Although Rove has made statements about the Plame leak, he
has never publicly acknowledged talking to any reporter about
the CIA agent.
Rove has carefully chosen his words when questioned about
the leak. "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name," he
told CNN last year when asked if he had had anything to do with
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been leading a
two year investigation into the leak amid questions about
whether it came from White House as part of an attempt to
discredit Wilson after he contradicted President Bush's
assertions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Wilson wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times saying
he had been sent by the CIA in 2002 to investigate the Bush
administration's claim that Iraq was trying to buy uranium from
Africa -- a claim that the administration used to justify going
to war in Iraq. Wilson said he found no evidence to support the
The Newsweek article said an e-mail Cooper sent his bureau
chief after briefly talking with Rove stated that "it was, KR
said, Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd
(weapons of mass destruction) issues who authorized the trip."
The e-mail did not suggest that Rove used Plame's name or
that he knew she was a covert agent, the article said.
"Karl Rove has shared with Fitzgerald all the information
he has about any potentially relevant contacts he has had with
any reporters, including Matt Cooper," Luskin told Newsweek.
© 2005 Reuters