Bush's trusted man Rove talks too much
WASHINGTON: Presidential confidant Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he learned the identity of a CIA operative originally from journalists, then informally discussed the information with a Time magazine reporter days before the story broke, according to a person briefed on the testimony.
The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, said Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA.
Rove testified that Novak originally called him days before Plame's identity was revealed in July 2003 to discuss another story. The conversation eventually turned to former Ambassador Wilson, who was strongly criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and the intelligence it used to justify the war, the source said.
The person said Rove testified that Novak told him he had learned and planned to report in a weekend column that Wilson's wife, Plame, had worked for the CIA, and the circumstances on how her husband travelled to Africa to check bogus claims of alleged nuclear material sales to Iraq.
Novak's column, citing two administration officials, appeared six days later, touching off a political firestorm and leading to a federal criminal investigation into who leaked Plame's undercover identity. That probe has ensnared presidential aides and reporters in a two-year legal battle.
On Thursday, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada pressed for legislation to strip Rove of his clearance for classified information, which he said President George W. Bush should already have done. Instead, Reid said, the Bush administration has attacked its critics: "This is what is known as a cover-up. This is an abuse of power."
Agent's husband says Rove must go
In an interview on CNN on Thursday before the latest revelation, Wilson kept up his criticism of the White House, saying Rove's conduct was an "outrageous abuse of power ... certainly worthy of frog-marching out of the White House."
"What this thing has been for the past two years has been a cover-up, a cover-up of the ... web of lies that underpin the justification for going to war in Iraq," said Wilson.
"And to a certain extent, this cover-up is becoming unraveled. That's why you see the White House stonewalling," Wilson told NBC's "Today" show.
(China Daily 07/16/2005 page6)