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White House Stands By 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
The White House is standing by Karl Rove, whose role in the leak of an undercover CIA officer's identity has prompted Democrats to call for dismissal of the president's top political adviser.

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, a key figure in the Rove controversry, showed up at U.S. District Court on Wednesday. The grand jury investigating the leak was meeting and it was expected Cooper would testify. He did not comment while entering the courthouse.

Cooper wrote an article in 2003 in which he identified the officer as Valerie Plame. It was disclosed this week that the story ran after a July 11, 2003, conversation with Rove during which the political adviser discussed Plame but not by name.

Cooper had refused to reveal his source for the story but agreed to do so after a confidentiality agreement was waived. That came just before Cooper could have been sent to jail for not cooperating with the investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked her name and whether that constituted a crime.

Another reporter, Judith Miller of The New York Times, is in prison after refusing to disclose her source to investigators.

In September and October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said he had spoken to Rove about the Plame matter and that Rove wasn't involved in the leak. McClellan refused for a second day Tuesday to discuss the denials of two years ago, saying that to do so would impinge on the ongoing criminal investigation of the leak.

But

points out that the investigation was already under way when the White House first defended Rove, and when the president vowed to fire anyone caught leaking.

President Bush ignored a question Tuesday about whether he would fire Rove now that it's known his adviser did talk to Cooper. But McClellan said later that "any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president." McClellan said that includes Rove.

First lady Laura Bush, talking to reporters while traveling in Africa on Wednesday, called Rove "a very good friend" whom the Bushes have known for many years.

"It would be irresponsible for me to speculate on any of it," she said, "so I think I'll leave the speculation to you all and I'll leave the investigation" to the prosecutor.