More questions about Rove and Plame

The Washington Post says special prosector Patrick Fitzgerald "still appears to want more answers about Rove's role" in the case.

Published July 8, 2005 12:44PM (EDT)

The Washington Post dives into the "Was it Rove?" story today with a Dan Balz piece on the state of the Valerie Plame investigation. It's not front-page news, apparently -- not much is the day after the attacks in London -- but the Post's story shines a light right at the president's chief political advisor.

Balz says that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "still appears to want more answers about Rove's role" in the case and is "apparently focused" on his conversations with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper. Cooper agreed earlier this week to testify before Fitzgerald's grand jury after he received -- "in somewhat dramatic fashion," he said -- permission from his source to do so. Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, told the Post Wednesday that Rove wasn't the one who told Cooper he could talk. But in a subsequent interview with the Post on Thursday, Luskin "declined to comment on a New York Times report that the release came as a result of negotiations involving Rove's and Cooper's attorneys, nor would he speculate that Cooper was released from his pledge in some other fashion than a direct conversation with Rove," Balz writes in today's Post.

Balz notes that, while previous White House denials about Rove's role in the case were often read as being categorical, there was some hair-splitting going on then, too. "In retrospect, however, these statements -- which some interpreted as emphatic denials -- were in fact carefully worded," he writes.

Cooper will, presumably, appear before the grand jury in the coming days, and Fitzgerald's investigation will either lead to an indictment or come to a close sometime after that. As the Associated Press notes, it remains unclear whether Robert Novak, who revealed Plame's identity as a CIA agent in his column, has cooperated with Fitzgerald's investigation. Assuming that he has -- and given that he has not been subjected to contempt proceedings, that's a pretty safe bet -- a former U.S. attorney from New York tells the AP that Fitzgerald may simply be looking for corroboration from a second source before proceeding with an indictment in the case.

In the meantime, the New York Times' Judith Miller -- who never wrote about the Plame case -- has begun serving time at the Alexandria Detention Facility in Virginia, where she will remain until the grand jury's term ends in October if she doesn't agree to testify before the grand jury first. Describing her trip to jail Wednesday, Miller told the Times: "They put shackles on my hands and my feet. They put you in the back of this car. I passed the Capitol and all the office buildings I used to cover. And I thought, 'My God, how did it come to this?'"

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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