Rove said cooperating in CIA leak inquiry
Larisa Alexandrovna Published: Monday March 27, 2006
Karl Rove, Deputy White House Chief of Staff and special adviser to
President George W. Bush, has recently been providing information to
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the ongoing CIA leak
investigation, sources close to the investigation say.
According to several Pentagon sources close to Rove and others
familiar with the inquiry, Bush's senior adviser tipped off Special
Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to information that led to the recent
"discovery" of 250 pages of missing email from the office of Vice
President Dick Cheney.
Rove has been in the crosshairs of Fitzgerald's investigation into
the outing of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson for what some
believe to be retaliation against her husband, former U.S. Ambassador
to Gabon, Joseph Wilson. Wilson had been an ardent critic of pre-war
While these sources did not provide any details regarding what type
of arrangements Rove's attorney Robert Luskin may have made with the
special prosecutor's office, if any, they were able to provide some
information regarding what Rove imparted to Fitzgerald's team. The
individuals declined to go on the record out of concern for their
According to one source close to the case, Rove is providing
information on deleted emails, erased hard drives and other types of
obstruction by staff and other officials in the Vice President's
office. Pentagon sources close to Rove confirmed this account.
None would name the staffers and/or officials whom Rove is providing
information about. They did, however, explain that the White House
computer system has "real time backup" servers and that while emails
were deleted from computers, they were still retrievable from the
backup system. By providing the dates and recipient information of
the deleted emails, sources say, Rove was able to chart a path for
Fitzgerald directly into the office of the Vice President.
In a comment to RAW STORY late Sunday evening, Robert Luskin denied
any deal between Rove and Fitzgerald's office.
"Mr. Rove has cooperated fully with Mr. Fitzgerald's investigation,"
Rove's attorney said. "We have not and will not comment on the nature
or substance of any communications with the office of the special
"That said, there is no basis whatsoever to the matters you allege
that Mr. Rove has related," Luskin added.
One senior White House official is already under indictment in the
leak case. Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby
was indicted on five counts of obstruction and false statements to
investigators in October of last year.
Rove eluded indictment late last fall after his lawyer said he
recalled a conversation with Time reporter Viveca Novak that he
alleged would vindicate his client. Sources say that while the
defense was able to parlay Luskin's revelation into postponing Rove's
indictment, ultimately a deal would likely have to be cut.
The sources did not say a deal had been reached, but did assert that
Rove pointed Fitzgerald to Cheney's office for the missing emails.
Asked about allegations that Rove is providing Fitzgerald's office
with key information and if his status had changed as a result,
Luskin provided a vehement denial.
"Your story is false and utterly without foundation," he said. "There
has never been any discussion of any deal of any kind involving Mr.
Rove. His cooperation has at all times been voluntary and
One of the sources close to the investigation said he was not
surprised by Luskin's response.
"That would be difficult for Rove to admit," the source said. "I
think Rove is now considered a special cooperating witness."
The White House was ordered to turn over all emails by then-White
House Counsel and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2003,
after the Administration received word the Justice Department had
launched an investigation into the CIA outing. According to newspaper
reports, Gonzales waited twelve hours to inform White House staff
after he had received an order from the Justice Department to
surrender materials relating to the case.
In a January letter to Libby's defense team, Fitzgerald expressed
concern that some emails might be missing.
"Some e-mails might be missing because the White House's archiving
system had failed," he said.
Sources say that the missing emails, which surfaced only a month
later were not really "missing." Rather, they had been deleted by
White House staff. Fitzgerald may have been aware of this at the time
of his January letter when he cited the missing emails.
Fitzgerald's spokesman, Randall Samborn, was unavailable for comment Monday.
A White House divided
Sources say the rift between Rove and the Vice President's office
crystallized when Rove quietly attempted to gauge the temperature for
replacing Cheney on the 2004 Presidential ballot last year.
"Rove was the source of 'feelers' put out before the last
presidential election in which he was suggesting that Cheney could be
replaced on the ticket with someone who had better poll ratings,"
said one of the former experts approached who wished to remain
"White House polls were showing that Cheney was a drag on the
reelection ticket and that the Iraq war issue might be responsible
for about a three percent drop, with Cheney the principal object of
voter hostility in this percentage of anti-war sentiment among the
general public," the source added.
Cheney, the source said, got wind of "Rove's political soundings" and
the already tense relationship between the Bush and Cheney camps
became almost impossible.
Whether or not Rove's recent cooperation will spare him an indictment
and a Fitzgerald probe remains unclear. But according to last week's
New York Times, associates say Rove is "increasingly certain" he will
not be indicted in the case.