Rumors Swell in CIA Outing Investigation

Alex Chadwick talks to David Greene about the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and Vice President Dick Cheney's rumored role in the leak. Many observers believe the "outing" was meant to discredit Plame's husband Joseph Wilson, who openly criticized the Bush administration's charge that Iraq was seeking to build weapons of mass destruction.

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

From NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

Coming up, new information about the legal views and abortion views of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

First the lead. A federal grand jury investigating the leak of the name of a CIA agent is nearing an end. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has been questioning a lot of witnesses, including New York Times reporter Judith Miller and White House officials. For the latest on the investigation, NPR White House correspondent David Greene joins us.

David, welcome back. What have you been hearing about the case today?

DAVID GREENE reporting:

Hi, Alex. Well, we've been hearing very little, and that's been pretty much the case for nearly two years, since Patrick Fitzgerald began this investigation. But--and it's worth noting also that even the White House doesn't really know what's going to happen, when this thing is going to come to a close. But Fitzgerald's grand jury term is about to expire and every sign we're getting is that his investigation is coming to some sort of end and we'll get an announcement from him at some point. Whether it's indictments, whether it's just a report, we just don't know. But the focus seems to still remain on people in the White House, like Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, and Scooter Libby, who is Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff. Both of them had conversations with reporters that Fitzgerald seemed all along to be very interested in. So those are the names that keep popping up.

CHADWICK: Well, of course, those are the senior aides, but they're senior aides to the top leaders of the country, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. What about efforts to go beyond the aides and tie them to their bosses?

GREENE: Well--and that's what might be new. What we learned over the weekend, Alex, in The New York Times from reporter Judith Miller, who testified in the case--She was the reporter who served 85 days in prison--is that Fitzgerald has asked some tough questions to her and perhaps to other witnesses about what Vice President Cheney knew and what he didn't know. Now there's nothing to suggest at this point that Fitzgerald is actually targeting the vice president. No one knows whether that would be the case or not. But he's certainly shown some interest in that. The White House was asked again if the vice president has spoken to investigators for a second time. He spoke to them once last year, and the White House wouldn't say whether there's been more contact between Fitzgerald's office and the vice president's office. So the focus still remains on the vice president's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, and whether there might be some sort of charges against him. But there's no doubt that at this point we can say that Fitzgerald has at least explored the vice president's role in the whole situation.

CHADWICK: And how does the White House seem about this, concerned or this is just what goes on and we're going on, too?

GREENE: Well, initially they were willing to answer questions about the investigation. The president said he'll fire anyone who committed a crime. Now it's totally buttoned up, and spokesman Scott McClellan was asked this morning if the president himself has answered more questions since last year, and he wouldn't answer. He said, `I'll get back to you on that if I have anything more to add.'

CHADWICK: NPR White House correspondent David Greene. David, thank you.

GREENE: My pleasure, Alex.

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