Rove's Lawyer Denies Rove Leaked to Cooper

Karl Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, responded to the growing swirl of of speculation about whether his client was the source the leak of Valerie Plames identity. Luskin says Rove did not reveal her identity.

Rove spoke to Time reporter Matthew Cooper in July 2003, during the week before published reports revealed the identity of operative Valerie Plame, the wife of Bush administration critic and former U.S. envoy Joseph Wilson.

In confirming the conversation between Rove and Cooper, Rove attorney Robert Luskin emphasized that the presidential adviser did not reveal any secrets. But the disclosure raised new questions about Rove and the precise role of the White House in the apparent national security breach as Cooper and another reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, face imminent jail terms.

Rove is no stranger to this grand jury.

Rove has testified before a grand jury investigating the Plame case on three occasions. His latest appearance was in October 2004, which is about the same time the prosecutor investigating the case has said his investigation was complete with the exception of the testimony of Cooper and Miller.

A timeline note: focus on the week before the Novak's article was published.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating the alleged outing of Plame by syndicated columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. Some suspect that the White House leaked her name in retaliation for a July 6, 2003, article in the New York Times written by Wilson, her husband, accusing the administration of using bogus intelligence to justify the war in Iraq.

Apparently, Fitgerald theorizes that whoever leaked to Novak also leaked to others - before Novak's article was published.

Novak was the first to publish Plame's name, but Fitzgerald has indicated that whoever leaked the information to Novak also might have leaked the information to other journalists, which could constitute separate violations of a federal law protecting covert agents. Prosecutions under that law are rare because they require a showing that the leak was intentionally disclosed and that the person leaking the information knew the government was trying to conceal it.

Fitzgerald had asked Cooper and Time for documents and testimony relating to conversations Cooper had with "official sources" about Wilson or Plame or her ties to the CIA, before the Novak column was published.

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