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SPECIAL REPORT

23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak

By Faiz Shakir  

"23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak"

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The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent:

(Comment on this page here.)

Karl Rove

Senior Advisor to President Bush (2001-2005); Deputy White House Chief of Staff (2005-Present)

ADMINISTRATION, ROVE ORIGINALLY DENIED ANY INVOLVMENT IN THE LEAK: Asked on 9/29/03 whether he had “any knowledge” of the leak or whether he leaked the name of the CIA agent, Rove answered “no.” That same day, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, after having “spoken to Karl,” asserted that “it is a ridiculous suggestion” to say Rove was involved in the leak. In August 2004, Rove maintained, “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name.” [ABC News, 9/29/03; White House Press Briefing, 9/29/03; RawStory; Newsweek, 7/11/05]

ROVE SPOKE WITH TIME REPORTER MATT COOPER: In a conversation with Time reporter Matt Cooper — a conversation that Rove insisted be kept on “deep background” — Rove instructed Cooper, “Don’t get too far out on Wilson.” Rove then identified Valerie Plame as “Wilson’s wife” who “works at the agency on wmd [weapons of mass destruction].” According to Cooper, his conversation with Karl Rove was the first time he had heard anything about Wilson’s wife. Additionally, Rove told Cooper that further information discrediting Wilson and his findings would soon be declassified and ended the phone conversation by saying “I’ve already said too much.” [Time, 7/25/05]

ROVE SPOKE WITH COLUMNIST ROBERT NOVAK: A week prior to publishing his column which outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame, Robert Novak spoke with Karl Rove. In the 7/8/03 conversation with Rove, Novak brought up Plame’s role at the CIA, and Rove confirmed for the reporter that Plame worked at the CIA: “I heard that too,” said Rove. [NYT, 7/15/05]

ROVE TESTIFIED FIVE TIMES BEFORE THE GRAND JURY: Karl Rove appeared before a federal grand jury for the fifth time on April 26, 2006. In his previous testimony to the grand jury, Karl Rove reportedly admitted “that he circulated and discussed damaging information regarding [Plame] with others in the White House, outside political consultants, and journalists” and “is said to have named at least six other administration officials” who were involved. From Rove’s description of the administration’s efforts, sources characterized the actions as “an aggressive campaign to discredit Wilson through the leaking and disseminating of derogatory information regarding him and his wife to the press, utilizing proxies such as conservative interest groups and the Republican National Committee to achieve those ends, and distributing talking points to allies of the administration on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.” [Washington Post, 4/27/06; American Prospect, 3/8/04; Newsweek, 7/11/05; Reuters, 10/14/05]

ROVE DEFENSE TEAM ANTICIPATES CHARGES; ROVE PLANS TO RESIGN IF INDICTED:
“Rove’s defense team asserts that President Bush’s deputy chief of staff has not committed a crime but nevertheless anticipates that special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald could find a way to bring charges in the next two weeks.” “Bush senior adviser Rove and others at the White House had concluded that if indicted he would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave, several legal and Administration sources familiar with the thinking told Time.” [Washington Post, 10/15/05; Time, 10/24/05]

ROVE WAS REPORTEDLY ADMONISHED BY BUSH FOR LEAKING: “An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News. ‘He made his displeasure known to Karl,’ a presidential counselor told The News. ‘He made his life miserable about this.’” [NY Daily News, 10/19/05]

MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Rove was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the other individual who has been confirmed as a leaker, Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby

Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney (2001-Present)

CHENEY AND LIBBY PRESSURED CIA ON URANIUM: Cheney and Libby visited the CIA headquarters to engage the CIA analysts directly on this issue of uranium acquisition in Africa, “creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration’s policy objectives.” [Washington Post, 6/5/03]

LIBBY, WITH ROVE AND HADLEY, PREPARED TENET’S RESPONSE TO NIGER CRITICISMS: Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby Jr., were helping to prepare what became the administration’s primary response to criticism that a flawed phrase about the nuclear materials in Africa had been included in Mr. Bush’s State of the Union address six months earlier. They had exchanged e-mail correspondence and drafts of a proposed statement by George Tenet, then the director of central intelligence, to explain how the disputed wording had gotten into the address. Mr. Rove, the president’s political strategist, and Mr. Libby, the chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney, coordinated their efforts with Stephen Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser, who was in turn consulting with Mr. Tenet. [New York Times, 7/22/05]

LIBBY SPOKE TO JUDY MILLER: Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff discussed with New York Times correspondent Judith Miller the fact that the wife of a White House critic worked for the CIA on as many as three occasions before the woman, Valerie Plame, was publicly identified, according to a New York Times account. [NYT, 10/16/05]

LIBBY MAY HAVE BEEN TRYING TO OBSTRUCT JUSTICE: According to Miller, this was what her attorney Floyd Abrams told her about his conversation with Libby’s attorney: “He was pressing about what you would say. When I wouldn’t give him an assurance that you would exonerate Libby, if you were to cooperate, he then immediately gave me this, ‘Don’t go there, or, we don’t want you there.’ ” [NYT, 10/16/05]

LIBBY SPOKE TO WALTER PINCUS: “Pincus answered questions about Libby as well. Both he and Cooper said they did so with Libby’s approval, and both said that their conversations with Libby did not touch on the identity of Wilson’s wife.” [Washington Post, 9/15/04]

LIBBY SPOKE TO GLEN KESSLER: “Fitzgerald took a tape-recorded deposition that will be played to the grand jury from Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler. Kessler said he agreed to be interviewed, at the urging of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Cheney, about two telephone conversations he had with Libby. Kessler said he told the prosecutors that in conversations last July 12 and July 18, Libby did not mention Plame or Wilson.” [Washington Post, 6/24/04]

LIBBY SPOKE TO MATTHEW COOPER: Libby tells Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper that Dick Cheney had not been responsible for Wilson’s mission. Speaking on the record, Libby denies that Cheney knew about or played any role in the Wilson trip to Niger. Speaking on background, Cooper asks Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson’s wife sending her husband to Niger. Libby replies, “Yeah, I’ve heard that too.” [Time, 7/25/05]

WHITE HOUSE DENIES LIBBY INVOLVEMENT: During press briefing, Scott McClellan says of Libby and others that “they assured me that they were not involved” in “leaking classified information.” [White House, 10/10/03]

CHENEY ASKED ABOUT LIBBY BY PROSECUTORS: “Vice President Dick Cheney was recently interviewed by federal prosecutors who asked whether he knew of anyone at the White House who had improperly disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer. Mr. Cheney was also asked about conversations with senior aides, including his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby . It was not clear how Mr. Cheney responded to the prosecutors’ questions.” [New York Times, 6/5/04]

LIBBY NOTES FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO BY PROSECUTORS: “One set of documents that prosecutors repeatedly referred to in their meetings with White House aides are extensive notes compiled by I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff and national security adviser. Prosecutors have described the notes as ‘copious.’” [New York Times, 2/10/04]

LIBBY TESTIFIED BEFORE GRAND JURY, MAY HAVE MISLED: Libby told special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned Plame’s identity from Tim Russert. Russert said in a statement last year that he told the prosecutor that “he did not know Ms. Plame’s name or that she was a CIA operative” and that he did not provide such information to Libby in July 2003. [Bloomberg, 7/22/05]

LIBBY PLANS TO RESIGN IF INDICTED: “Bush senior adviser Rove and others at the White House had concluded that if indicted he would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave, several legal and Administration sources familiar with the thinking told Time… The same would apply to I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the Vice President’s chief of staff, who also faces a possible indictment.” [Time, 10/24/05]

MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Libby was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the other individual who has been confirmed as a leaker, Karl Rove. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Condoleezza Rice

National Security Advisor (2001-2005); Secretary of State (2005-Present)

RICE WAS ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE: Rice was one of several senior administration officials on a July 2003 flight to Africa, during which it was decided that she would appear on the Sunday shows to “protect Cheney by explaining that he had had nothing to do with sending Wilson to Niger, and dismiss the yellowcake issue.” [Newsweek, 7/17/05]

RICE RECEIVED TOP SECRET BRIEFING BOOK ON AFRICA TRIP:
“To allow her to prepare on the long flight home to D.C., White House officials assembled a briefing book, which they faxed to the Bush entourage in Africa. The book was primarily prepared by her National Security Council staff. It contained classified information — perhaps including all or part of the memo from State. The entire binder was labeled TOP SECRET.” [Newsweek, 7/17/05]

RICE SAID SHE LEARNED OF WILSON’S TRIP FROM ABC NEWS APPEARANCE: ” [O]n Ambassador Wilson’s going out to Niger, I learned of that when I was sitting on whatever TV show it was, because that mission was not known to anybody in the White House.” [State Department, 7/11/03]

RICE CLAIMED NO KNOWLEDGE OF LEAKS:
“I know nothing of any such White House effort to reveal any of this. And it certainly would not be the way the president would expect his White House to operate.” [Fox News, 9/28/03]

“COOPERATED” WITH FITZGERALD’S PROBE. When asked if she had been asked to testify before the grand jury, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said, “I have, like everybody else, cooperated with Prosecutor Fitzgerald and I’m quite certain that he will make his report.” [Fox News, 10/16/05]

MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Rice was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Stephen Hadley

Deputy National Security Advisor (2001-2005); National Security Advisor (2005-Present)

ROVE COMMUNICATED HIS CONVERSATION WITH COOPER TO HADLEY: After Karl Rove spoke to Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper about Joseph Wilson (according to Cooper, this was the first time he learned of Plame’s identity), Rove wrote Hadley an email. The July 11, 2003 email said: “Matt Cooper called to give me a heads-up that he’s got a welfare reform story coming. When he finished his brief heads-up he immediately launched into Niger. Isn’t this damaging? Hasn’t the president been hurt? I didn’t take the bait, but I said if I were him I wouldn’t get Time far out in front on this.” [Associated Press, 7/15/05]

HADLEY SEEN AS “EYES AND EARS” FOR CHENEY: In 1989, Hadley served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Hadley admitted Cheney was “a factor” in his hiring as deputy national security adviser by President Bush in 2001. The Washington Post reported that some saw Hadley as Cheney’s “eyes and ears” at the NSC. [Washington Post, 7/25/01]

HADLEY WAS WARNED NOT TO CITE URANIUM EVIDENCE:
Hadley briefed reporters on July 22, 2003 to explain why the bogus intelligence should have been excluded from Bush’s State of the Union. Hadley noted his receipt of a memorandum from the CIA, dated October 6, 2002, that explained why references to Iraq’s pursuit of uranium was dropped from Bush’s October 7 speech against Iraq. According to Hadley, the memo provided “some additional rationale for the removal of the uranium reference.” The memo described “some weakness in the evidence, the fact that the effort was not particularly significant to Iraq’s nuclear ambitions because the Iraqis already had a large stock of uranium oxide in their inventory This memorandum was received by the Situation Room here in the White House, and it was sent to both Dr. Rice and myself.” [Hadley/Bartlett Gaggle, 7/22/03]

HADLEY REVIEWED POWELL’S SPEECH TO U.N. WHICH DID NOT CONTAIN URANIUM REFERENCE: Prior to Powell’s speech, Condoleeza Rice’s deputy Stephen Hadley led “the White House effort to sift through the intelligence with the help of the CIA,” and tried “to determine what can be released without damaging the agency’s ability to gather similar information.” The uranium reference mentioned in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union just one week prior was deleted from Powell’s speech to the U.N. because Powell said it did not stand “the test of time.” [Washington Post, 1/30/03]

HADLEY COORDINATED WITH TENET ON TENET’S APOLOGY:
The Washington Post reported, “Behind the scenes, the White House responded with twin attacks: one on Wilson and the other on the CIA, which it wanted to take the blame for allowing the 16 words to remain in Bush’s speech. As part of this effort, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley spoke with Tenet during the week about clearing up CIA responsibility for the 16 words, even though both knew the agency did not think Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, according to a person familiar with the conversation.” [Washington Post, 7/27/05]

MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP:
Hadley was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Andrew Card

White House Chief of Staff (2001-Present)

CARD GIVEN A TWELVE-HOUR HEAD START ON THE INVESTIGATION: On September 29, 2003, the Department of Justice informed then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales that it was launching a criminal investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity. Gonzales was instructed to notify the White House staff to preserve all documents related to the case. By his own admission, Gonzales didn’t comply with the request immediately; he went to Chief of Staff Andrew Card and told him that the White House staff would be told to preserve all documents related to the leak the following morning. As a result, Card had a 12-hour window to tip off White House staff about the request — an amount of time that “would give people time to shred documents and do any number of things.” [CBS, 7/24/05; Democracy Now; Fox News, 12/31/03]

CARD WAS ON AIR FORCE ONE: Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was on Air Force One accompanying President Bush on the July 2003 trip to Africa. A “senior State Department official confirmed that, while on the trip, Powell had a department intelligence report on whether Iraq had sought uranium from Niger.” The State Department memo in question — a “key piece of evidence in the CIA leak investigation” — stated that “Wilson’s wife had attended a meeting at the CIA where the decision was made to send Wilson to Niger.” The memorandum “contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked ‘(S)’ for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified…” [Newsweek, 8/9/04; Washington Post, 7/20/05, 7/20/05; Knight Ridder, 3/5/04]

CARD INITIATED CONVERSATION BETWEEN TENET, BUSH ABOUT INVESTIGATION: Two days into the Justice Department investigation, Card initiated a conversation between President Bush and then-director of the CIA George Tenet about the leak investigation. Though Tenet was not planning on discussing the issue with the President at the daily intelligence briefing, it was Card who brought up the subject. [New York Times, 10/5/03]

MEMBER OF WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Andrew Card was the founder and a “regular participant” in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Alberto Gonzales

Chief White House Counsel (2001-2005); Attorney General (2005-Present)

GONZALES INTERVIEWED BY THE GRAND JURY: Gonzales testified in front of the Grand Jury about the Plame leak on June 18, 2004. [Washington Post, 6/19/04]

GONZALES WAITED TWELVE HOURS BEFORE INFORMING WHITE HOUSE STAFF OF INVESTIGATION: On 9/29/03, the Department of Justice informed White House counsel Alberto Gonzales that it was launching a criminal investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity. Gonzales was instructed to notify the White House staff to preserve all documents related to the case. Gonzales, however, waited 12 hours before informing White House staff about the investigation. Instead, he told only Chief of Staff Andrew Card about the inquiry, in effect giving Card a 12-hour window to tip off White House staff, including Karl Rove, about the request. [Face the Nation, 7/24/05]

GONZALES SERVED AS ‘GATEKEEPER’ OF JUSTICE DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION: After the Justice Department launched its investigation into the Plame leak, Gonzales was the chief advisor to White House staffers on complying with the investigation. He also acted as “gatekeeper,” invoking “executive privilege” in order to hold back certain sensitive White House documents from investigators. Gonzales personally spent days screening all requested documents before handing them over to investigators. [CBS, 10/7/03]

Mary Matalin

Senior Advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney (2001-2002)

MATALIN WORKED CLOSELY WITH VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Mary Matalin was senior advisor in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office at the time of the leak. While in the White House, she worked closely with Scooter Libby — the Vice President’s chief of staff who was one of Matt Cooper’s sources. [Washington Post, 2/3/01]

MATALIN INTERVIEWED BY THE GRAND JURY:
Matalin testified in front of the Grand Jury about the Plame leak on January 21, 2004. [Washington Post, 2/10/04]

MEMBER OF THE WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP:
Matlin was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Ari Fleischer

White House Press Secretary (2001-2003)

IN EARLY JULY, FLEISCHER READ MEMO ABOUT PLAME ON AIR FORCE ONE: “On the flight to Africa, Fleischer was seen perusing the State Department memo on Wilson and his wife, according to a former administration official who was also on the trip.” [Bloomberg, 7/18/05]

FLEISCHER TOLD GRAND JURY HE NEVER SAW THE MEMO: “Mr. Fleischer told the grand jury that he never saw the document, a person familiar with the testimony said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the prosecutor’s admonitions about not disclosing what is said to the grand jury.” [New York Times, 7/23/05]

FLEISCHER AMONG FIRST GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO CRITICIZE WILSON: Newsday reported, “In the subpoenaed July 12 [2003] transcript of a briefing in Nigeria, then-press secretary Ari Fleischer called Wilson a “lower-level official” and said Wilson had made flawed and incomplete statements.” The transcript of the briefing was pulled from the White House site but has since been restored. [Newsday, 3/6/04; White House, 7/12/03]

FLEISCHER TALKED TO NOVAK ONE DAY AFTER HIS COLUMN WAS PUBLISHED:
Fleischer’s “telephone log showed a call on the day after Mr. Wilson’s article appeared from Mr. Novak, the columnist who, on July 14, 2003, was the first to report Ms. Wilson’s identity.” [New York Times, 7/23/05]

FLEISCHER INTERVIEWED BY FBI ABOUT LEAK:
[Washington Post, 2/10/04]

FLEISCHER A FOCUS OF FITZGERALD INVESTIGATION: “‘Ari’s name keeps popping up,’ said one source familiar with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s probe. Another source close to the probe added there is renewed interest in Fleischer, ‘based on Fitzgerald’s questions.’” [New York Daily News, 7/15/05]

Susan Ralston

Personal assistant to Karl Rove (2001-Present)

RALSTON IS ROVE’S RIGHT-HAND: ABC News reported on August 2, 2005 that Susan Ralston, Karl Rove’s long-time right-hand, testified before the grand jury. The National Journal reported, “If Karl Rove is Bush’s main man, then it’s Ralston who makes this White House go — because she’s indispensable to Rove.” According to Newsweek, Ralston was suggested to Rove by ethically-troubled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, for whom she previously served as a top aide. [ABC The Note, 8/2/05; Newsweek, 4/20/05; National Journal, 6/18/05]

RALSTON WAS ASKED WHY ROVE’S CALL WITH MATT COOPER NOT ENTERED INTO PHONE LOGS: “At one point, the aides were asked why Mr. Cooper’s call to Mr. Rove was not entered in Mr. Rove’s office telephone logs. There was no record of the call, the person who has been briefed said, because Mr. Cooper did not call Mr. Rove directly, but was transferred to his office from a White House switchboard. The aides have worked closely with Mr. Rove, screening his calls and coordinating his activities with other White House officials. Mr. Hernandez had been an aide to President Bush since his successful campaign for governor of Texas in 1994, and Ms. Ralston is known as one of Mr. Rove’s most trusted associates.” [New York Times, 8/3/05]

FITZGERALD MAY WANT RALSTON’S TESTIMONY FOR SOMETHING BESIDES COOPER CONVERSATION: “But a person familiar with Cooper’s testimony said that Ralston’s name did not come up during the reporter’s grand jury appearance. That indicates that Fitzgerald may be interested in her testimony for other reasons.” [Los Angeles Times, 8/3/05]

Israel Hernandez

Personal assistant to President Bush (2001-2005)

ROVE AIDE HERNANDEZ TESTIFIED: ABC News reported on August 2, 2005 that Israel Hernandez, a Rove aide in July 2003 during the leak of Valerie Plame, testified before the grand jury. Hernandez was tapped as assistant secretary of commerce. [ABC The Note, 8/2/05; NY Daily News, 6/24/05]

John Hannah

Aide to Vice President Cheney

HANNAH A “MAJOR PLAYER” IN FITZGERALD PROBE: According to the UPI, “The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said. According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney’s chief of staff Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby were the two Cheney employees. ‘We believe that Hannah was the major player in this,’ one federal law enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president’s office were not returned. Hannah and Libby did not return calls. [UPI, 2/4/04]

FITZGERALD PRESSURED HANNAH TO NAME SUPERIORS: The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah ‘that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time,’ as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law enforcement official said.’” [UPI, 2/4/04]

INVOLVEMENT IN LEAK PROBE: “Officials who testified or were questioned by investigators also included John Hannah, Mr. Cheney’s principal deputy national security adviser.” [NYT, 10/19/05]

HANNAH REPORTEDLY WORRIED ABOUT INDICTMENT:
“John Hannah, an aide to Cheney and one of two dozen people questioned in the CIA leak case, has told friends in recent months he is worried he may be implicated by the investigation, according to two U.S. officials.” [Washington Post, 10/20/05]

Scott McClellan

Deputy White House Press Secretary (2001-2003); White House Press Secretary (2003-Present)

MCCLELLAN WAS NOT ON AFRICA TRIP: “Fleischer and Bartlett were with Bush on a July 7-12 trip to Africa just prior to publication of Novak’s column, and McClellan, then Fleischer’s deputy, was on vacation.” [Associated Press, 2/11/04]

MCCLELLAN SAID THE PRESIDENT “KNOWS” KARL WASN’T INVOLVED: “Q All right. Let me just follow up. You said this morning, ‘The President knows’ that Karl Rove wasn’t involved. How does he know that? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’ve made it very clear that it was a ridiculous suggestion in the first place. I saw some comments this morning from the person who made that suggestion, backing away from that. And I said it is simply not true. So, I mean, it’s public knowledge. I’ve said that it’s not true. And I have spoken with Karl Rove…” [White House, 9/29/03]

MCCLELLAN SAID THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE ANYONE IN THE WHITE HOUSE OR VICE PRESIDENT’S OFFICE WAS INVOLVED: “There’s been nothing, absolutely nothing, brought to our attention to suggest any White House involvement, and that includes the vice president’s office as well.” [White House, 9/29/03]

MCCLELLAN SAID IF ANYONE IN THE ADMINISTRATION WAS INVOLVED THEY’D BE FIRED: “If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration.” [White House, 9/29/03]

MCCLELLAN SAID ROVE, LIBBY AND ABRAMS WERE NOT INVOLVED: “Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA? MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.” [White House, 10/10/03]

MCCLELLAN REFUSES TO COMMENT FURTHER BECAUSE “THE INVESTIGATION IS ONGOING”: Even though he made his previous comments while the investigation was ongoing. [White House, 7/11/05]

MCCLELLAN INTERVIEWED BY FBI:
Time magazine revealed in mid-October 2003 that “the FBI has interviewed more than two dozen officials in several Washington offices, including White House press secretary Scott McClellan and Bush political adviser Karl Rove as well as other West Wing aides.” [Time, 10/27/03]

Dan Bartlett

White House Communications Director (2001-2005); Councelor to the President (2005-Present)

BARTLETT WAS ON AIR FORCE ONE: Bartlett was one of several senior administration officials on a July 2003 flight to Africa. During the trip, Bartlett gave a background briefing in which he urged reporters to look into the CIA’s sole in sending Joe Wilson to Niger. The briefing has not drawn “substantial interest” the prosecutor’s office recently. One source for a New York Times article on the subject said Prosecutor Fitzgerald knew about the briefing but was not pursuing it. A different source for the same article said the Mr. Bartlett did not see the State Department memo that was otherwise witnessed on the plane. [NYT, 7/27/05]

BARTLETT TESTIFIED BEFORE THE GRAND JURY: According to Anne Kornblut of the New York Times, citing “a person who has been briefed on the case,” Bartlett told investigators that “he did not know who Ms. Wilson was” when her name was leaked. Bartlett’s attorney has refused to discuss the case, citing requests by the special counsel. [[NYT, 7/27/05; Washington Post, 7/21/05]

BARTLETT HAS LONGSTANDING TIES TO KARL ROVE: Rove and Bartlett go way back, and the influence of the former still has a tendency to affect the later. As Newsweek reports: “Technically, Rove was in charge of politics, not ‘communications.’ But, as he saw it, the two were one and the same–and he used his heavyweight status to push the message machine run by his Texas protege and friend, Dan Bartlett.” [Newsweek July 25, 2005.] He has worked closely with both Bush and Rove since 1994, when he worked on Bush’s first successful campaign for governor. Before that, Bartlett was an employee of Karl Rove and associates, a political consulting firm established by Karl Rove after the 1980 primary defeat of George HW Bush against Ronald Reagan. [Link; White House]

BARTLETT OFFERED CONTRADICTORY EXPLANATIONS OF 16 WORDS: In July of 2003, Bartlett, referring the infamous “16 words” in Bush’s State of the Union address, told reporters that “there was no debate or questions with regard to that line when it was signed off on.” The very same week Condoleeza Rice told reporters that there was “discussion on that specific sentence, so that it reflected better what the CIA thought.” [Washington Post, 7/15/03;=]

MEMBER OF WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP: Bartlett was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Claire Buchan

Deputy Press Secretary (2001-2005)

BUCHAN ANNOUNCED THAT PRESIDENT BUSH HAD SPOKEN WITH A LAWYER REGARDING LEAK: On Wednesday, June 2, 2004, Buchan announced that Bush had consulted a lawyer, Jim Sharp, about the growing leak controversy. “The president has said that everyone should cooperate in this matter and that would include himself,” said Buchan at the time. [Associated Press, 6/2/04]

BUCHAN TESTIFIED BEFORE THE GRAND JURY: Buchan testified on February 6, 2004–the same day as Adam Levine, a former press office employee, and Scott McClellan. “I was pleased to cooperate,” said Buchan at the time. She has declined to reveal any details of her testimony. [Fox News, 2/11/04]

BUCHAN CLAIMED THAT NO WHITE HOUSE STAFF HAD BEEN ASKED TO SIGN WAIVERS: Despite the fact that the White House is “fully cooperating,” Buchan said that no one had been asked to sign a form waiving the right to privacy. White House officials said that privacy waivers were routinely sought from government employees in the course of investigations to find the sources of sensitive or classified information, even though the procedure was not widely known. [NYT, 1/3/04].

Catherine Martin

Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs (2001-2004)

MARTIN DENIED THAT CHENEY HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE OF WILSON OR HIS REPORT: In response to claims that Joe Wilson had circulated his Niger report prior to the State of the Union Address, Martin denied that Cheney had any knowledge of it. “The vice president doesn’t know Joe Wilson and did not know about his trip until he read about it in the press,” said Martin. [The New Yorker, 10/20/03]

MARTIN INTERVIEWED BY FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS: The FBI interviewed Martin about the leak. It is suspected, though uncertain, that Martin testified before the grand jury. [Newsday, 2/24/04; Washington Post, 11/26/04]

PROSECUTORS EXPRESS INTEREST IN CALLS MADE TO AND BY MARTIN: Prosecutors have reportedly asked about calls made to and from Martin’s cell phone in July of 2003. [NYT, 2/10/03]

MARTIN CLAIMED IGNORANCE OF WHETHER OR NOT LIBBY HAD TALKED TO NOVAK: According to a Newsweek article, Martin denied knowledge of whether or not Scooter Libby had talked to columnist Bob Novak. “I don’t know the answer,” Martin said when asked about Scooter’s possibly involvement. Her response is considered part of a larger White House tactic to avoid answering such questions. [Newsweek, 10/8/03]

Jennifer Millerwise

Spokeswoman for Vice President Cheney (2001-2003)

FORMER CHENEY SPOKESWOMAN: She served as Deputy Assistant for Communications and Press Secretary to Vice President Dick Cheney from 2001 to 2003. During the first 10 months of the Bush Administration, she was Assistant Press Secretary in the White House Office of the Press Secretary. [CIA website]

CURRENT DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AT THE CIA: [CIA website]

QUESTIONED BY FEDERAL PROSECUTORS IN LEAK PROBE: Bloomberg reported that she was questioned by Fitzgerald’s team “about the vice president’s knowledge of the anti-Wilson campaign and his dealings on it with Libby, his chief of staff.” [Bloomberg, 10/17/05]

David Wurmser

Cheney assistant on national security

WURMSER REPORTEDLY A KEY TO THE PROBE: “Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, meanwhile, is combing over testimony by John Hannah and David Wurmser, national security aides to Vice President Cheney who sources questioned under oath say may be the key to the probe.” [NY Daily News, 10/20/05]

FBI AGENTS HAVE PURSUED WURMSER’S ROLE: “FBI agents also have asked current and former officials about Richard Perle of the defense board and David Wurmser, an Iran specialist and principal deputy assistant for national security affairs in Cheney’s office, according to sources familiar with or involved in the case.” [Washington Post, 9/4/04]

INVESTIGATION IS LOOKING AT WURMSER, PERLE, AND FEITH MEMO: “Some familiar with the case suggest that the FBI’s investigation is looking back as far as 1996, when Feith, Richard Perle, Feith’s boss at the Pentagon in the 1980s and until recently chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, and David Wurmser, a co-founder of OSP who is now Cheney’s Middle East adviser, wrote a radical memo, called ‘A Clean Break,’ to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling for confrontation with Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the PLO.” [The Nation, 10/4/04]

WURMSER WAS SUBJECT OF ANOTHER FBI PROBE: “According to a government source, the Pentagon’s National Criminal Investigative division began probes in 2002–with FBI guidance–to determine who leaked secret war plans to The New York Times and The Washington Post in June 2002. At the State Department, diplomatic security launched an investigation into David Wurmser, an aide to John Bolton, for leaking a letter from Secretary of State Colin Powell to the Pentagon objecting to the Syria Accountability Act. The letter ended up being the basis for a story in The Jerusalem Post.” [The New Republic, 10/10/05]

Colin Powell

Secretary of State (2001-2005)

POWELL WAS ON AIR FORCE ONE: Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was on Air Force One accompanying President Bush on the July 2003 trip to Africa. A “senior State Department official confirmed that, while on the trip, Powell had a department intelligence report on whether Iraq had sought uranium from Niger.” The State Department memo in question — a “key piece of evidence in the CIA leak investigation” — stated that “Wilson’s wife had attended a meeting at the CIA where the decision was made to send Wilson to Niger.” The memorandum “contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked ‘(S)’ for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified…” There are also indications that Fitzgerald subpoenaed phone records from Air Force One — where the memo was first seen by many administration officials — to “determine whether presidential aides used the aircraft’s phones to leak the name of a CIA employee to reporters.” [Newsweek, 8/9/04; Washington Post, 7/20/05; Knight Ridder, 3/5/04]

POWELL TESTIFIED BEFORE THE GRAND JURY: Though not a subject of the inquiry, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell testified before the federal grand jury on July 16, 2004. Powell’s appearance was seen “as the latest sign the probe being conducted by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald [was] highly active and broader than [had] been publicly known. Sources close to the case say prosecutors were interested in discussions Powell had while with President George W. Bush on a trip to Africa in July 2003, just before Plame’s identity was leaked to columnist Robert Novak.” Sources saw the decision to question Powell as indicative of “the thoroughness with which Fitzgerald is conducting the probe–and that knowledge about Plame was circulated at the highest levels of the administration.” [Newsweek, 8/9/04]

Karen Hughes

White House Aide (2001-2002); Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy (2005-Present)

HUGHES INTERVIEWED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: In the questionnaire for her confirmation proceedings, Karen Hughes listed that she had been interviewed by the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. [New York Times, 7/22/05]

HUGHES DECRIED LEAK, DENIED ROVE’S INVOLVMENT: In her book, Ten Minutes From Normal, Hughes discussed the leak, calling it “wrong” and “unfair” to Bush. Hughes earlier said the leak was “disruptive to democracy.” In her book, she said whoever conducted the leak “should come forward and not hide behind journalistic ethics for his or her self-protection.” She added, “The use of unnamed sources has become a convenient way for too many political operatives to hide and avoid accountability for their statements.” Additionally, Hughes commented that she knew Rove wasn’t involved in the leak because “Karl has said he was not involved.” [Ten Minutes From Normal; POE News, 10/2/03]

HUGHES INVOLVED IN DRAFTING 2003 STATE OF THE UNION WITH FALSE URANIUM CLAIM: In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush declared, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” It has been reported that Karen Hughes was “involved in drafting the speech.” She said her primary goal in the process was to answer: “Why is Saddam Hussein’s continued defiance a threat to our country and to peace in the world?” Intelligence from the CIA and the State Department at that time indicated Iraq was not attempting to acquire uranium from Niger. Furthermore, the inclusion of the false statement led to apologies from Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, Ari Fleischer, and George Tenet. Instead of addressing the allegations at the time they were made, Hughes defended the false intelligence and devised a communications strategy that questioned the motives of those who criticized the president. [President Bush, 1/28/03; The Houston Chronicle, 1/27/03; Baltimore Sun, 7/23/03; Washington Post, 7/20/05; MSNBC, 9/28/03; White House Press Briefing, 7/29/03; CNN, 7/11/03; USA Today, 3/14/02]

HUGHES HAS PREVIOUS HISTORY OF SMEARING WHITE HOUSE CRITICS: Hughes “was an advocate of the howitzer treatment” of the former Bush counter-terrorism chief and White House critic Richard Clarke. In an attempt to attack and smear the character of Richard Clarke, the White House released numerous pieces of information that were previously classified, including an email from Clarke to Condi Rice shortly after 9-11 and Clarke’s resignation letter. The White House also revealed Clarke to be the source of an anonymous background briefing he had done on behalf of the president. However, the White House refused Clarke’s request to declassify his correspondence with Rice prior to 9-11 about the threats that were being ignored. Hughes admitted on ABC’s 20/20 that she was involved in these efforts against Clarke: “I’m involved in White House discussions about those issues… I think, from personal knowledge, that many of the things he said are not true.” [New York Times, 3/28/04; CNN, 4/9/04; CNN, 3/4/04; ABC's 20/20, 3/29/04]

MEMBER OF WHITE HOUSE IRAQ GROUP:
Hughes was a regular participant in the weekly meetings of the Bush Administration’s White House Iraq Group. The main purpose of the group was the systematic coordination of the “marketing” of going to war with Iraq as well as selling the war here at home. One clear example of this fact is that “the escalation of nuclear rhetoric” during the pre-war stage, “including the introduction of the term ‘mushroom cloud’ into the debate, coincided with the formation” of WHIG. The group included the two individual who have been confirmed as leakers, Karl Rove and Lewis Libby. [Washington Post, 8/10/03]

Adam Levine

Communications Aide (2001-2003)

LEVINE WAS ONE OF FEW PRESS AIDES TO SPEAK TO REPORTERS DURING AFRICA TRIP: “Levine was one of the few press officials at the White House to answer reporters’ calls [during the Africa trip].” [CNN, 2/10/04]

LEVINE AMONG THE FIRST WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS TO TESTIFY BEFORE GRAND JURY: Levine testified on February 6, 2004. “Levine’s testimony was described as ‘brief’ and non-combative, and followed several interviews with FBI agents. The source said there were many questions about which reporters [Levine] and other senior officials talked to, suggesting investigators are trying to get as much information as possible from press officials, knowing the reporters are unlikely to talk.” [Newsday 2/24/04; CNN, 2/10/04]

LEVINE SAID TO TESTIFY ABOUT ‘WHITE HOUSE PROCEDURES’:
“Dan French, former U.S. attorney for New York’s Northern District, and Don Kinsella, the district’s longtime criminal bureau chief, are representing a former White House press aide, Adam Levine ‘The President of the United States has asked his staff to cooperate, and even though Levine’s no longer on the staff he’s adhering to the President’s request,’ French said. ‘He has been called to testify before the federal grand jury concerning his knowledge of White House procedures, in particular phone calls with reporters. He was called to testify and we represented him in those proceedings.’” [The Times Union (Albany, NY) 2/12/04]

LEVINE LEFT ADMINISTRATION IN DECEMBER ’03, BUT RELATIONSHIP CONTINUED: New York Times: “Levine left the Bush administration in December after working as the principal liaison between the White House and television networks.” Later, the Washington Post describes Levine as “a former White House aide who portrayed Russert in mock sessions with administration officials,” referring to White House prep for President Bush in advance of his Meet the Press appearance in early February ’04. [NYT, 2/10/04; Washington Post, 2/5/04]

LAST-MINUTE TESTIMONY FROM LEVINE: The Washington Post reported that prosecutors conducted “last-minute interviews with Adam Levine, a member of the White House communications team at the time of the leak, about his conversations with Rove.” [Washington Post, 10/27/05]

Bob Joseph

Director for Nonproliferation at National Security Council (2001-2005); Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs (2005-Present)

JOSEPH SPECIFICALLY ASKED FOR INCLUSION OF URANIUM CLAIM IN STATE OF THE UNION: The New York Times reported that senior intelligence officials said that Alan Foley, a C.I.A. expert on weapons of mass destruction, said “he was asked by Bob Joseph, the director for nonproliferation at the National Security Council, whether the president’s address could include a reference to Iraq’s seeking uranium from Niger.” [NYT, 7/18/03]

JOSEPH GUIDED WMD CASE AGAINST IRAQ: Bob Joseph, “the senior director dealing with weapons of mass destruction, guided the process of building the case against Iraq” from the White House. Thus, it appears likely he would have seen the State Department memo that contained Plame’s identity. [Newsweek, 9/30/03]

Vice President Dick Cheney

FITZGERALD FOCUSING ON DIRECT CHENEY INVOLVEMENT: Bloomberg reported, “A special counsel is focusing on whether Vice President Dick Cheney played a role in leaking a covert CIA agent’s name, according to people familiar with the probe that already threatens top White House aides Karl Rove and Lewis Libby.” [Bloomberg, 10/17/05]

CHENEY INTERVIEWED BY FEDERAL PROSECUTORS: “Vice President Dick Cheney was recently interviewed by federal prosecutors who asked whether he knew of anyone at the White House who had improperly disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer. Mr. Cheney was also asked about conversations with senior aides, including his chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby . In addition, those people said, Mr. Cheney was asked whether he knew of any concerted effort by White House aides to name the officer. It was not clear how Mr. Cheney responded to the prosecutors’ questions. [Cheney] was not questioned under oath and he has not been asked to appear before the grand jury.” [NYT, 6/5/04]

CHENEY SEEMS TO BE THE COMMON DENOMINATOR: Four members of the Vice President’s staff — “Scooter” Libby, John Hannah, Mary Matalin, and Catherine Martin — have either been implicated in the leak or testified before the grand jury. In addition, Stephen Hadley worked under Cheney at the Defense Department and is considered by some to be his “eyes and ears” on the NSC staff. [Washington Post, 7/25/01]

CHENEY TOLD LIBBY ABOUT PLAME’S COVERT STATUS: According to the Libby indictment, “On or about June 12, 2003, Libby was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson’s wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Division.” The Counterproliferation Division is an agency in the CIA’s clandestine division. [Libby indictment]

CHENEY’S HANDWRITTEN NOTES REVEAL EFFORTS TO SMEAR WILSON: Vice President Cheney’s handwritten notes, disclosed in a new court filing by Patrick Fitzgerald, show that he was “acutely focused” on smearing Joseph Wilson. Among the questions Cheney jotted in the margins of Wilson’s op-ed: “[D]id his wife send him on a junket?” [Newsweek, 5/14/06; Cheney's notes]

CHENEY AND LIBBY PRESSURED CIA ON URANIUM: Cheney and Libby visited the CIA headquarters to engage the CIA analysts directly on this issue of uranium acquisition in Africa, “creating an environment in which some analysts felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit with the Bush administration’s policy objectives.” [Washington Post, 6/5/03]

President George W. Bush

WAS BUSH INVOLVED IN THE LEAK? In July 2005, the New York Times raised the possibility that Bush could be involved in the leak. “It is still not clear what the investigation into the leak of a C.I.A. operative’s identity will mean for President Bush. So far the disclosures about the involvement of Karl Rove, among others, have not exacted any substantial political price from the administration. And nobody has suggested that the investigation directly implicates the president. Yet Mr. Bush has yet to address some uncomfortable questions that he may not be able to evade indefinitely There is the broader issue of whether Mr. Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the C.I.A. officer’s identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program.” [NYT, 7/24/05]

BUSH QUESTIONED BY FITZGERALD FOR OVER AN HOUR: On June 24, 2004, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and several of his assistants questioned the president for about 70 minutes in the Oval Office. Bush retained a private lawyer, Jim Sharp, for the interview. A prominent First Amendment lawyer, Floyd Abrams, said “It’s hard to believe the special prosecutor would be burdening the president with an interview unless they had testimony to the effect that the president had information.” [Washington Post, 2/25/04]

STARR DEPUTY SAID BUSH INTERVIEW SUGGESTED HIGH-LEVEL INVOLVEMENT IN LEAK: The New York Daily News reported, “The Bush interview ‘indicates there’s obviously a belief that the leak was at a high level,’ said Sol Wisenberg, a former [Ken] Starr deputy who questioned Clinton. ‘The President usually doesn’t meet and knock around ideas with midlevel staffers.’” [New York Daily News, 6/25/04]

BUSH WAS ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT MEMO:
A classified State Department report that contained Valerie Plame’s identity was sent to Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials who were aboard Air Force One with the president on July 7, 2003. The extent of the circulation of the memo is not known. [Washington Post, 7/21/05]

BUSH CLAIMED TO WANT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LEAK: On September 29, 2003, a senior administration official told the Washington Post that Bush said, “I want to get to the bottom of this,” during a daily staff meeting which Karl Rove attended. [Washington Post 9/30/03]

BUSH TOLD TENET HE WOULD COOPERATE WITH THE INVESTIGATION:
A conversation between the president and Tenet about the investigation did not consume, according to Andy Card, “any significant amount of time or discussion or angst. It was basically, ‘We’re cooperating, you’re cooperating, I’m glad to see the process is moving forward the way it should.’” [NYT, 10/4/03]

BUSH REPORTEDLY KNEW ROVE WAS A LEAKER TWO YEARS AGO: “An angry President Bush rebuked chief political guru Karl Rove two years ago for his role in the Valerie Plame affair, sources told the Daily News. ‘He made his displeasure known to Karl,’ a presidential counselor told The News. ‘He made his life miserable about this.’” [NY Daily News, 10/19/05]