WASHINGTON (AP) – Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald will not produce a report that ties up all the loose ends of his nearly two-year investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. Despite the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, several important questions are unanswered:

Q: Will Karl Rove be indicted?

A: The fate of President Bush’s closest political adviser has consumed Washington. So far, the answer is no. But Fitzgerald said his investigation is “not quite done.”

Rove, who testified before a federal grand jury four times, has acknowledged discussing Plame’s covert work for the CIA with Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper and syndicated columnist Robert Novak, according to legal professionals familiar with his testimony.

Rove told the grand jury he first learned of Plame’s CIA work from journalists, not government sources. Nothing in Libby’s indictment contradicted Rove’s recollection.

Fitzgerald would not comment on Rove. “If you ask me any name, I’m not going to comment on anyone named, because we either charged someone or we don’t talk about them,” the prosecutor said Friday.

The closest the indictment comes to Rove is its discussion of an unnamed senior White House official who talked to Novak about Plame and discussed the matter with Libby. That could describe Rove.

Q: What was Cheney’s role?

A: The indictment said Cheney was one of three government officials who told Libby that Plame worked for the CIA. But it leaves out any context or does not say whether Cheney instructed Libby to relay the information to others.

Plame’s husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, has said administration officials knowingly revealed her identity in summer 2003 to punish him for his criticism of the Bush administration’s use of prewar Iraq intelligence.

“We make no allegation that the vice president committed any criminal act,” Fitzgerald said.

Q: Fitzgerald was supposed to investigate whether anyone committed a crime by leaking Plame’s name, but the charges against Libby do not mention the leak itself. Why not?

A: Fitzgerald offered a partial explanation. He said the obstruction of justice that prosecutors claim Libby engaged in made it impossible for them to determine whether the leak itself violated the law.

Fitzgerald refused to say whether he sought to bring that charge and, if so, whether the grand jury turned him down. He also has not ruled out charges against others.

Q: This episode had its roots in Wilson’s trip to the African nation in Niger at the CIA’s behest to investigate whether Iraq sought to buy uranium yellowcake. Did Plame play a role in her husband’s trip, as Novak’s column alleged?

A: Fitzgerald said the answer to that question was “irrelevant” to his investigation. “I think the only thing that’s relevant, frankly, is the belief in the mind of some people that she was involved in the trip,” he said.

Q: Has Novak had any part in Fitzgerald’s investigation?

A: A mystery that still endures. It is not known whether Novak cooperated with Fitzgerald, disclosed the identities of the two senior administration officials who told the columnist that Plame worked for the CIA or testified before the grand jury. Fitzgerald would not comment when asked at his news conference.


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