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Cooper Learned of CIA Wife From Rove Call


By PETE YOST
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Time magazine's Matthew Cooper says a 2003 phone call with White House political adviser Karl Rove was the first he heard about the wife of Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson apparently working for the CIA.

Giving a first-person account of his role in a case that nearly landed him in jail, the reporter recalled that Rove told him, ``I've already said too much'' after revealing that the wife of the former ambassador apparently was with the CIA.

Cooper speculated in the piece, released Sunday, that Rove could have been ``worried about being indiscreet, or it could have meant he was late for a meeting or something else.''

``I don't know, but that signoff has been in my memory for two years,'' Cooper wrote. The White House and Rove's lawyer have stressed that Rove never mentioned Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife, by name.

At issue in a federal grand jury investigation into whether someone in the Bush administration violated a federal statute by publicly disclosing the identity of Plame as a CIA operative.

Cooper said the 2003 phone call with Rove was the first time he had heard anything about Wilson's wife.

The White House had insisted for nearly two years that neither Rove nor Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, had any connection with the leak of Plame's name. For the last two weeks, however, it has steadfastly declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing Fitzgerald probe.

It took the same tack Sunday, as spokesman David Almacy declined specifically to comment about Libby, citing an independent counsel's ongoing investigation of the case.

Writing an account of a conversation he had with Libby, Cooper said, ``Libby replied, 'Yeah, I've heard that too' or words to that effect'' when he asked if Libby had heard anything about Wilson's wife sending her husband to Africa to investigate the possible sale of uranium to Iraq for nuclear weapons.

As part of special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's criminal probe of the identity leak, Cooper testified about his conversation with Libby in a deposition at his lawyer's office in August 2004. Libby, as Rove did this month, provided a specific waiver of confidentiality. In a grand jury appearance last Wednesday, Cooper gave his account of what Rove told him.

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.

In an effort to quell a chorus of calls to fire Rove, Republicans said Sunday that he first learned about Plame's identity from the news media.

``The information exonerates and vindicates, it does not implicate'' Rove, Republican Party chairman Ken Mehlman said on NBC's ``Meet the Press.'' ``Folks involved in this, frankly, owe Karl Rove an apology.''

There were no takers.

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

It is unclear whether a journalist first revealed the information to Rove, as Mehlman said.

A lawyer familiar with Rove's grand jury testimony said 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.

Appearing on CBS' ``Face the Nation,'' Wilson said, ``I believe that using the West Wing of the White House to be engaged in a smear campaign is an outrageous abuse of power.''

The CIA sent Wilson to check out intelligence that the government of Niger had a deal for the sale of yellowcake uranium to Iraq. Wilson did not find that such a deal took place.

Five days before Cooper's conversation with Rove, an op-ed piece by Wilson had appeared in The New York Times suggesting the Bush administration had manipulated prewar intelligence to justify an invasion of Iraq.

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

``There's no evidence that (Rove has) done anything criminally wrong,'' Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on CBS. He said the American people are taking the controversy ``for what it is - politics.''

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Regarding Rove learning of Plame from reporter. Does it matter? I learned about this site through an email that a friend sent me. However, by telling my friends all about it, I obviously stated my support for afterdowningstreet. Regardless of who he heard it from, he used that information as a tool to slander another american hero. First it was McCain in the primaries, then it was Kerry in the presedential campaign, and now it's someone who isn't even involved in the intricacies of politics. Eventually every single person that is not a GOP will be slandered. I would say just every democrat, but that is not the case either...ask McCain. I think perhaps it would be a wise decision to email McCain. I am not a republican, and have never voted such...however, McCain is the last bastion of republican decency. If he were to stand up for what he believes in...not only would the Democrats give him praise, but there would be a shining beacon of hope and courage against the raging tempest that is the republican smeer machine.

Bush: Any Criminals in Leak to Be Fired
AP - 51 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Monday that if anyone on his staff committed a crime in the CIA-leak case, that person will "no longer work in my administration." At the same time, Bush yet again sidestepped a question on the role of his top political adviser, Karl Rove, in the matter. "We have a serious ongoing investigation here and it's being played out in the press," Bush said at an East Room news conference.

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Did you catch that the statement has been changed to include the phrase "Committed a crime"? I don't think that's quite what they said 2 years ago...

Ah, that's right, he said previously: "...anyone who was involved would be fired"; there's your spin for today!

Hasn't it been made perfectly clear by now (and by his own admission)that Rove was involved?

I refer to my post regarding contacting McCain. I would like to hear his take on this whole thing…he's been rather quiet as of late, except for recently claiming his support for bolton. *grumbles*

I think McCain was at one point an independent thinking Rrepublican in the mold of Pete McCloskey whose article was posted yesterday comparing Bush and Nixon. Unfortunately when McCain climbed in bed with Bush after Rove's viscious attack on him I became convinced that McCain had been made an offer by the neocons that he could not refuse concerning 2008. I hope I am wrong about that because I thought he could rise above the fray. I guess everybody has their price.

That is incredibly disheartening. You know they have said that senators take their emails to heart when they receive them..and pay very keen attention to what the people say.

Perhaps if McCain was reminded of how much his strength if adored and admired by the masses, even those from the more liberal front…it will inject in him a sense of duty and pride at his prior stance over issues. As long as the republicans believe that they are all in agreement...they will remain unbending and adamant against what the democrats and liberals have to say. If the liberals were to say the world is round, they would insist that it is flat...or more likely just insult the reliability of the person making the 'round-worlded' accusations, and point out that they happened to be married to a map distributer, and this whole thing is just an effort to sell more maps. Ok, perhaps that's a bit overcreative...but you get the point. The point is that the republicans are an unbending lot with a somewhat twisted sense of values...at least the current GOP. McCain has in the past stood against the stereotype...and he's been a national hero in the past...I believe that perhaps he can be a hero again. Perhaps that is just wishful thinking. I like McCain...alot. I would hate to imagine him changing colors just when the going was getting tough...just when we needed him to stand by his prior convictions.

I'd like to hear from McCain too. He's my senator and after NUMEROUS emails to him, I've yet to hear one single word.

And your right, he sold his soul in the last election. Look what happened to Little Kathy Harris of Florida. She sold her soul in 2000 and now they aren't even going to back her. In fact looking for someone they can buy to run against her. Love the ethics of this repuklican party.

Keep up the good work...........

Let's throw as many out in 2006 as we can.

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