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Reporter: Top Cheney Aide Among Sources


- By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
Sunday, July 17, 2005

(07-17) 12:58 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

The vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was a source along with the president's chief political adviser for a Time story that identified a CIA officer, the magazine reporter said Sunday, further countering White House claims that neither aide was involved in the leak.

In an effort to quell a chorus of calls to fire deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Republicans said that Rove originally learned about Valerie Plame's identity from the news media. That exonerates Rove, the Republican Party chairman said, and Democrats should apologize.

But it is not clear that it was a journalist who first revealed the information to Rove.

A lawyer familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony said Sunday that Rove learned about the CIA officer either from the media or from someone in government who said the information came from a journalist. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity because the federal investigation is continuing.

In a first-person account in the latest issue of Time magazine, reporter Matt Cooper wrote that during his grand jury appearance last Wednesday, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "asked me several different ways if Rove had indicated how he had heard that Plame worked at the CIA." Cooper said Rove did not indicate how he had heard.

The White House's assurance in 2003 that Rove was not involved in the leak of the CIA officer's identity "was a lie," said John Podesta, White House chief of staff in the Clinton administration. He said Rove's credibility "is in shreds."

Until last week, the White House had insisted for nearly two years that Libby and Rove had no connection to the leak. Plame's husband is Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson, the top U.S. diplomat in Iraq at the start of the Persian Gulf War.

The White House refused last week to repeat its denials about Rove's involvement because of the disclosure that Rove told Cooper on July 11, 2003, that Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and that she had authorized a trip he took to Africa in 2002.

The CIA sent Wilson to check out intelligence that the government of Niger had sold yellowcake uranium to Iraq for nuclear weapons. The chief rationale for the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 was that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Five days before Rove spoke with Cooper, Wilson had written a newspaper opinion piece suggesting the administration had twisted prewar intelligence, including a "highly doubtful" report that Saddam bought nuclear materials from Niger.

Libby and Rove were among the unidentified government officials who provided information for a Time story about Wilson, Cooper told NBC's "Meet the Press."

Cooper also said there may have been other government officials who were sources for his article. Time posted "A War on Wilson?" on its Web site on July 17, 2003.

The reporter refused to elaborate about other sources. He said that he has given all information to the grand jury in Washington where he was questioned for 2 1/2 hours on Wednesday.

In his first-person account, Cooper said Rove ended their telephone conversation with the words, "I've already said too much." Cooper speculated that Rove could have been "worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else."

"This was the first time I had heard anything about Wilson's wife," Cooper wrote of his phone call with Rove.

Cooper also had a conversation about Wilson and his wife with Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

According to Cooper, "Libby replied, 'Yeah, I've heard that too' or words to that effect" when Cooper asked if Libby had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Niger.

In 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the idea that Rove was involved in leaking information about Wilson's wife was "ridiculous."

The only concession by any Republican in the controversy came from Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the third-ranking House Republican.

Asked about the White House's previous statements that Rove was not involved, Blunt told CBS'"Face the Nation" that spokesmen for the White House "need to be very thoughtful about what they say and be sure that their credibility is sustained."

At the time of the assurances, McClellan said he had checked directly with Rove.

"I like to check my information to make sure it's accurate before I report back to you," McClellan told the press in October 2003. McClellan said then that he had also checked with Libby and National Security Council official Elliott Abrams before saying they were not involved in the leak.

Blunt and Wilson clashed on CBS.

Blunt said many people in Washington understood that Plame worked at the CIA and went to its headquarters every day.

It "certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of top-secret definition on things longer than they needed to," Blunt said.

Wilson pointed out that his wife "was covered according to the CIA, and the CIA made the referral" to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation.

Wilson said friends and neighbors of the couple did not know that she worked for the CIA and that "they understood her to an energy analyst, an energy consultant."

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Congressman Blount's regurgitation of the RNC talking points is yet another example of why Republicans can not be trusted with the power they have purchased with the money of the wealthiest elements of America. His robotic performance makes him look like a "Chatty Kathy" doll. With all due respect Congressman Blount, try to treat this matter as seriously as you did the "evidence" which came out in the previous administration's inquiry. Don't you think lying about a sexual escapade is equalled in importance to the possibility that a war was initiated on the strength of intentionally manufactured intelligence? the blood of over 1700 Americans is on the hands of you and your Republican colleagues as well as the entire Bush administration.

Impeachment, recall and demands for the resignations of all of the federal court appointments made by Bush, Bush I and Reagan should begin immediately. This country needs social and economic justice and we need it now! Ideological purity is the same scourge which caused the rise of the Third Reich. Congressman Blount, my father fought in WWII to rid the world of that scourge and your conduct and that of the Bush administration is a dishonor to his and all the WWII veterans sacrifices in the name of freedom. Think about it!

All due respect for Congressman Blount is exactly zero. Anyone who would excuse or condone treason and conspiracy for petty political revenge deserves not respect, but scorn.

I certaintly agree that Republicans are putting party loyalty above the good of the nation, but get off your high horse, the Democrats, when in power do exactly the same thing. When Bill Clinton, who made lying an art form, scandalized the presidency, the nation, his family and his party, not once did the Democrats even dare admit Clintons mistakes, in fact they howled and yelled that a persons sexual affairs were ones own business; and I agree as long as they are kept in the marriage bedroom, but it was Clinton himself that took his sexuality public when he started didling the girls in the White House.

Impeach little George Stupid, absolutely, his crimes are light years beyond what ever Clinton did. But don't try to sell me that Democrats are some how holy, pure and righteous; Democrats/Republicans they are all a bunch of sleze bags and need to be watched every step of the way! Don't believe anything any politician says unless it can be verified by independent sources, and even them I would only believe half of it, just on principle.

I hope no one on this web site claims that Democrats are pure. Indeed, they’re equally corrupt. The biggest difference is that Republicans have power, right now. I think this site should be purely non-partisan, and apolitical. This is an American issue and a matter which should concern all of us.

The hotline if you're interested in bribing us to claim that the Democratic Party is a bunch of saints is 1-888-WTF-NOPE. Extra charges will be applied for claims that Howard Dean is a pacifist. Claims that Harry Reid is unaffected by campaign contributions are not available on weekends. Offer does not apply in free speech zones. Check your local rules and conditions.

But I DO think this.

I do believe you got something there with the Black Congressionals...they are like Europeans when it comes to history: NOT NAIVE.
So when Michael Moore made his movie, who did he interview? Congressman Conyers. Who led the fight to try to thwart the Supreme Court from taking away the people's vote in 2000 - Black Congressionals. Who led the fight with DSM- Congressman Conyers. Black Congressionals are more privy of what the rich white good ol boy network can do to society, just like the Europeans are more privy what a Hitler can do to society. I know that blue-collar and poor whites "get it" too, but their traditional organizations like the labor unions , why aren't the labor unions hollering against this war? They are recruiting working class and poor blacks and hispanics too, so why isn't there Black Congressional pressure on the labor unions to speak out? The other working whites stuck in the Christian Right rut that the Neocons created for them, labor unions gotta speak for them too. Most of the emails I get from the labor unions is of course about privatization of Social Security and CAFTA (Amen against both). Don't labor unions know they gotta get out there NOW to stop this recruiting too? Don't labor unions have freedom of speech to speak out against this war and the recruiting of fodder in working class and poor neighborhoods? Or are labor unions picking their battles because Bush has so many battle fronts. I think there ought to be a more organized cry from working people to RICO the PNAC too, for causing this illegal invasion and recruitment of working class and poor fodder for oil.

You are right...both sides are at fault and an uninformed public and lazy media help them out. To keep them honest (Ha) it is so important for the public to stay informed and speak out...often

I despised the sperm scam too, now can we go ahead together and oust the Neocon pigs?

No one is suggesting the Democratic Party is "Simon Pure", however, I am suggesting that when you look at the Constitutional crises which have occurred in the last 40 years, it has been the Rerpublicans who have been at the root of it. When a Democratic President has been supported by a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress, there has not been a Constitutional crisis in my 53 years on this earth. Since 1972 Republican administrations have caused two. I see is as a matter of respect for the laws of the land versus the Republican lust for unabashed power. Republicans have a need for an enemy and a need to conquer something or someone. Republicans are like sharks who kill for the sake of killing. It is their insatiable appetite to conquer and dominate that is revolting.

Hear!, Hear! Finally a post I can agree with absolutely.

All due Respect to Congressman Blount is exactly zero. Anyone that would try excuse treason and conspiracy for petty political revenge is not deserving of anyones' respect.

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