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Rove Won't Be Charged in CIA Leak Case

Top White House aide Karl Rove will not be charged with wrongdoing in the three-year-long investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name. The announcement from Rove's lawyers ends speculation about Rove's fate, which has been fueled by his five appearances before a federal grand jury.

This is the same investigation that resulted in the indictment of another top White House adviser, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, last fall. When charges against Libby were announced, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said the book on Rove hadn't been closed yet. And so began a lengthy waiting game in Washington that has now ended.

Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, received a letter from the prosecutor Monday afternoon informing him that Rove was in the clear. Luskin released the following brief statement:

"On June 12, 2006, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove."

Acknowledging the months of rumors that surfaced and resurfaced regarding Rove's fate -- with some saying he'd already been indicted -- Luskin's statement went on to say, "We believe that the special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr. Rove's conduct."

It is known that Karl Rove did speak to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame -- Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper confirmed that fact. What Fitzgerald had to determine was whether he had a criminal case against the president's chief political adviser.

Ultimately, Fitzgerald decided he did not. The special prosecutor has not commented on this development.

The news about Rove triggered what was described as elation at the White House. President Bush has stuck by his longtime friend and partner through more than a decade of political battles.

Rove, meanwhile -- after getting the "all clear" from the special prosecutor -- spent the evening doing what he loves most: talking politics.

He was in New Hampshire for a speech looking ahead to the 2006 midterm elections. Staving off a Democratic takeover of one or both houses of Congress is Rove's No. 1 project these days.

In his speech, Rove lashed out at Sen. John Kerry and Rep. John Murtha as being soft in the fight on terrorism.

"Like too many Democrats, it strikes me they are ready to give the green light to go to war," Rove said, adding that "when it gets tough, they fall back on that party's old platform of cutting and running."

With a legal cloud lifted, it's back to business as usual for the president's most important political adviser.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.