Accessibility links

Breaking News

Bush Aide to Testify Again in CIA Leak Case

President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, has been asked to provide more testimony to a grand jury investigating whether a crime was committed in the leaking of the identity of a covert CIA operative.

Karl Rove has already testified three times in the CIA leak probe, and his lawyer says he has agreed to go before the grand jury again before its term expires at the end of this month.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine whether Bush White House aides broke the law when someone leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Ms. Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence on Iraq's mass weapons capability in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.

Knowingly revealing the identity of a covert agent is a federal crime, and Mr. Fitzgerald is trying to determine if White House aides leaked the information about Ms. Plame as retaliation against her husband, Ambassador Wilson.

Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, says prosecutor Fitzgerald told him that no decisions have been made yet whether to indict anyone in connection with the leak investigation.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says he is not aware of any major new developments in the case.

"That is an ongoing investigation, and the president directed that we cooperate fully with that investigation," said Mr. McClellan. "As part of cooperating fully, that means not commenting on it from here [the White House]."

Karl Rove has acknowledged that he discussed Ambassador Wilson's allegations with reporters, but said that he was not the one who revealed Ms. Plame's identity.

"I did not know her name and I did not leak her name," said Mr. Rove.

Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, has also acknowledged talking to reporters in connection with the Plame case.

President Bush has vowed to fire anyone in the White House who willfully leaked Ms. Plame's identity. And, even though he has not been charged in the case, some Democrats have previously called for Karl Rove to either resign or be fired.

Among them was Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

"The White House's credibility is at issue here, and I believe very clearly that Karl Rove ought to be fired," said Mr. Kerry.

Some conservative supporters of the president are concerned that the leak investigation has become a big distraction for the Bush White House.

"Obviously, everything depends on what happens," said William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine, speaking on NBC's Today program. "Will there be indictments or not, and we do not know. I do suspect, in fact, I have been told, or I gather from people in or near the White House, that Rove has, understandably, been distracted by this in the last few weeks."

Karl Rove has been the president's top political adviser since Mr. Bush's days as Texas governor. The president referred to Mr. Rove as the architect of his re-election victory last year.