Muckraking journalist extraordinaire Murray Waas reports that investigators suspect that columnist Robert Novak called Karl Rove to concoct a cover story that would protect Rove in the Valerie Plame leak investigation.
On September 29, 2003, three days after it became known that the CIA had asked the Justice Department to investigate who leaked the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, columnist Robert Novak telephoned White House senior adviser Karl Rove to assure Rove that he would protect him from being harmed by the investigation, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the federal grand jury testimony of both men.
In the early days of the CIA leak probe, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was briefed on a crucial conversation between Robert Novak and Karl Rove.
Suspicious that Rove and Novak might have devised a cover story during that conversation to protect Rove, federal investigators briefed then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on the matter in the early stages of the investigation in fall 2003, according to officials with direct knowledge of those briefings.
Ashcroft oversaw the CIA-Plame leak probe for three months until he recused himself and allowed Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to be named to take over the investigation on December 30, 2003. Ashcroft received routine briefings about the status of the investigation from October to December of that year.