Monday, November 28, 2005

2nd Time Reporter to Testify in Leak Case

The New York Times

2nd Time Reporter to Testify in Leak Case

WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 - A second reporter for Time magazine has been asked to testify under oath in the C.I.A. leak case, about conversations she had in 2004 with a lawyer for Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, the magazine reported on Sunday.

The reporter, Viveca Novak, who has written about the leak investigation, has been asked to testify by the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, about her conversations with Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer for Mr. Rove, the magazine said.

The request for Ms. Novak's testimony is the first tangible sign in weeks that Mr. Fitzgerald has not completed his inquiry into Mr. Rove's actions and may still be considering charges against him. Mr. Rove has long been under scrutiny in the case but has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

So far, Mr. Fitzgerald has brought one indictment, on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, against I. Lewis Libby Jr., the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Mr. Libby resigned after the indictment was announced and has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr. Fitzgerald's request for Ms. Novak's testimony follows a disclosure by The Washington Post on Nov. 16 that its best-known reporter, Bob Woodward, had testified under oath to Mr. Fitzgerald about matters that lawyers in the case said were unrelated to Mr. Rove.

In an article and a first-person account by Mr. Woodward, the paper reported that an unidentified administration official told Mr. Woodward about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the case in June 2003, making him the first reporter to learn of the intelligence officer.

Time magazine did not make clear what information the prosecutor hoped to obtain from Ms. Novak, whose name has not previously surfaced in the case. She has contributed to articles in which Mr. Luskin was quoted.

Another Time reporter, Matthew Cooper, testified this summer about a July 2003 conversation he had with Mr. Rove, but only after the magazine waged a lengthy legal battle.

Time disclosed the prosecutor's request in a two-paragraph article published on Sunday, reporting that Ms. Novak had been asked to discuss conversations she had with Mr. Luskin, starting in May 2004, when she was covering the investigation.

The article said Ms. Novak was cooperating with the inquiry. It is not known when she will testify; she has not been asked to appear before the grand jury but will instead give a deposition, said Ty Trippet, a Time spokesman.

On Sunday, Mr. Luskin declined to comment, but he has previously said he expects that Mr. Fitzgerald will decide not to prosecute Mr. Rove. Ms. Novak declined to comment, as did Randall Samborn, a spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald.

The lawyers who discussed the case would do so only if they were not identified by name, citing Mr. Fitzgerald's requests to them not to publicly discuss matters that remain under investigation.

Ms. Novak is not known to have had discussions with Mr. Rove or other White House officials about the C.I.A. officer during the summer of 2003, the time that has been the focus of Mr. Fitzgerald's inquiry.

Nevertheless, the summer and fall of 2004 was a significant time for Mr. Rove, according to lawyers in the case. It was then that Mr. Rove searched for and found an e-mail message he had written that led him to recall the July 2003 conversation with Mr. Cooper, the lawyers said.

Mr. Rove's e-mail message was sent on July 11, 2003, to Stephen J. Hadley, who was then the deputy national security adviser. The message said Mr. Rove had spoken to Mr. Cooper about issues in the leak case.

After its discovery, Mr. Rove provided the message to Mr. Fitzgerald, who had not been aware of it. Mr. Rove testified about the conversation with Mr. Cooper in a grand jury appearance in October 2004.

Even so, Mr. Fitzgerald has investigated Mr. Rove's assertions that he had forgotten the conversation with Mr. Cooper, and why he made no mention of it in his earlier testimony and in meetings with investigators, the lawyers said.

In Ms. Novak's case, the magazine's apparently swift compliance contrasted with the legal battle waged by Time and Mr. Cooper, who for months resisted a subpoena from Mr. Fitzgerald for his testimony.

With his appeals exhausted, Mr. Cooper testified in July that he had spoken with Mr. Rove about Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador who traveled to Africa in early 2002 at the C.I.A.'s request to investigate claims of Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium ore. Mr. Wilson later became an ardent critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy.

After his grand jury appearance, Mr. Cooper wrote that Mr. Rove did not identify Mr. Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson, by name, but told him that she worked at the Central Intelligence Agency on issues related to illicit weapons and might have played a role in sending her husband on the Africa trip.

Ms. Novak is not related to the columnist Robert D. Novak, who first disclosed Ms. Wilson's identity in a column on July 14, 2003.

John Files contributed reporting for this article.