Wayne Madsen | October
After it was reported that Karl Rove had agreed to give further testimony to
the Grand Jury investigating the CIA leak, Rove's attorney Robert Luskin denied
his client had received a target letter from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald,
a formal "heads up" sent to individuals who are about to be indicted.
However, it is being reported from well-informed sources throughout
Washington that 1) target letters have been sent to Karl Rove, Scooter Libby,
and Ari Fleischer; 2) Rove has agreed to testify and possibly agree to a plea
bargain agreement in return for his testimony against other targets of the criminal
probe; 3) Cheney and Bush may be named as unindicted co-conspirators; 4) Bush's
"war speech" before the National Endowment for Democracy and a late
Thursday afternoon report that "19 operatives" have arrived in New
York City to place bombs on subway trains are blatant attempts by the White
House to divert attention from the impending indictments against the Bush White
The main stream media is just beginning to take notice that a "Watergate-level
event" is about to occur in Washington.
Rove to Testify Again in Grand Jury's CIA Leak Probe
Prosecutor's Warning That Bush Adviser Could Be Indicted Suggests New
Information May Have Emerged
Post | Friday, October 7, 2005
By Carol D. Leonnig and Jim VandeHei
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove will again testify to a grand jury
that is in the final stages of investigating whether senior Bush administration
officials illegally leaked the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame
to the media more than two years ago, a source familiar with the arrangement
Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald contacted Rove last week to seek his
fourth appearance before the grand jury -- but warned Rove's lawyer that he
could not assure that Rove would not be indicted, according to the source. Rove
could appear as early as today, when the grand jury is next scheduled to meet.
Fitzgerald's request -- which comes just weeks before the grand jury term is
set to expire on Oct. 28 -- suggests that new information has come to light
in other witness testimony, or other questions remain that Rove needs to address,
according to lawyers who have been involved in the case.
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, said in an interview yesterday that Rove has
not been notified that he is a target of the investigation, and does not fear
testifying despite Fitzgerald's warning. Luskin declined to say whether he knows
the topics Fitzgerald wants to question Rove about.
"Mr. Fitzgerald has affirmed to me that he has made no charging decisions,
that he believes Karl continues to cooperate fully with the investigation, but
beyond that, I don't want to comment at all about any communications with Mr.
Fitzgerald's office," Luskin said.
A source close to Rove said Bush's chief political adviser and his legal team
are now genuinely concerned he could face charges. But, the source said, his
lawyers are hoping that Fitzgerald's warning of the chance of indictment is
simply the move of a conservative, by-the-book prosecutor wrapping up a high-profile
investigation. Prosecutorial guidelines require prosecutors to warn witnesses
before they appear before a grand jury if there is a chance they could face
For the past 22 months, Fitzgerald has been investigating whether any Bush
administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's identity in July 2003 as
retaliation for public criticism by her husband, former ambassador Joseph C.
Wilson IV, of the government's case for war in Iraq.
On July 6, Wilson contended in an opinion piece that administration claims
that Iraq was trying to obtain nuclear materials in Niger were false. Wilson
had been sent to the African nation by the CIA to investigate the claims. Eight
days later, on July 14, Plame's name and CIA employment appeared in a syndicated
column by Robert D. Novak.
Rove has testified that he talked with two reporters about Plame in that time
period, but only referred to her as Wilson's wife and never supplied information
about her status as an undercover CIA operative. Vice President Cheney's chief
of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, also testified that he discussed
Plame with at least two reporters but said that he, too, never mentioned her
name or her covert status, according to lawyers in the case.
The news of Rove's upcoming testimony comes at one of the more difficult moments
of the Bush presidency. In recent months, Bush has faced steady criticism for
his handling of Iraq, gas prices and Hurricane Katrina. Most recently, a number
of prominent conservatives who have backed Bush since 2000 have been sharply
critical of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said the White House would not comment on the
"That's an ongoing investigation . . . and the president directed that
we cooperate fully with that investigation," he said. "As part of
cooperating fully, that means not commenting on it from here."
As recently as a week ago, people familiar with Rove's role in the affair said
they believed he was in the clear because, after Time magazine reporter Matt
Cooper testified in July about his conversation with Rove, Rove had not heard
back from Fitzgerald.
Rove offered then to come back and answer any questions that might arise from
Cooper's testimony, Luskin has said.
It is highly unusual for a person who has any risk of being indicted in a white-collar
case to offer to go before the grand jury, say veteran defense lawyers and former
prosecutors. But the rare exceptions, they say, are almost always high-profile
figures and politicians. Public figures can expect that an indictment will end
their careers, and that refusing to cooperate in an investigation could do the
same, criminal lawyers said.
A witness who has already appeared several times may be recalled to explain
why earlier answers appear to conflict with accounts of other witnesses, said
two former prosecutors. Or the prosecutor may simply want to inquire about new
topics that have arisen in the investigation.
Under Justice Department guidelines, prosecutors must provide witnesses the
opportunity to testify again if they want to recant previous testimony that
may have been false. That does not necessarily prevent a prosecutor from bringing
charges but can be part of that person's defense.
Besides Cooper, at least two other people have testified before the grand jury
since Rove last answered questions: New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who
was questioned after initially refusing to appear and serving 85 days in jail,
and Rove's secretary.
Under an agreement with Fitzgerald, Miller's testimony last Friday focused
on her conversations with Libby. Libby's lawyer, Joseph Tate, did not return
telephone calls seeking comment yesterday.
Rove's secretary was questioned about why a phone call from Cooper to Rove
in 2003 was not recorded in White House phone logs, according to sources familiar
with the probe. She reportedly explained that Cooper called the main switchboard
and his call was not logged because it was rerouted to Rove's office.
One apparent conflict between Rove's and Cooper's accounts centers on Rove
telling the grand jury that he and Cooper talked primarily about welfare during
their conversation, according to lawyers familiar with Rove's account. Cooper
has said the grand jury asked him repeatedly about the welfare portion of his
discussion with Rove, but Cooper said that, although he left a message for Rove
about welfare reform, their conversation that day centered on Wilson.
Randall Eliason, former chief of public corruption prosecutions in the U.S.
attorney's office in Washington, said it is difficult to speculate about Rove's
"Obviously, some more questions were raised since the last time he testified
that Fitzgerald wants to answer," Eliason said. "It would be unusual
for Rove to go back in if he felt he was going to be indicted."
A notable example of a public figure voluntarily going before a grand jury
despite the risk of indictment is Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.). He had been
notified in 1992 that he was a target of an investigation into illegal wiretapping
of a political opponent. When he learned the Justice Department had authorized
bringing charges against him, his attorney pressed to let him reappear before
the grand jury. He was not indicted.