White House: No Comment On Rove

Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, addresses an audience of Republican supporters in Lake Geneva, Wis., in this April 9, 2005, file photo.
AP
For two years, the White House has insisted that presidential adviser Karl Rove had nothing to do with the leak of a CIA officer's identity. And President Bush said the leaker would be fired.

But Mr. Bush's spokesman wouldn't repeat any of those assertions Monday in the face of Rove's own lawyer saying his client spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified in a newspaper column after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, wrote an article criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq policies.

Rove described the woman to a reporter as someone who "apparently works" at the CIA, according to an e-mail obtained by Newsweek magazine.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to discuss the matter at two news briefings Monday. He said he would not comment because the leak is the focus of a federal criminal investigation.

"The prosecutors overseeing the investigation had expressed a preference to us that one way to help the investigation is not to be commenting on it from this podium," McClellan said in response to a barrage of questions about Rove and the previous White House denials.