Is Fitzgerald circling in on Rove?
More than two dozen emails sent to various senior Bush administration officials between May 2003 and early July 2003 related to covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, are missing, and the special prosecutor investigating the case suspects that the communications may have been destroyed, according to high level sources close to the two-year old probe.
The sources, who are knowledgeable about Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation and have read hundreds of pages of grand jury testimony, said the emails in question were sent between May and July 2003 by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove, then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, former CIA official Frederick Fleitz, former Cheney aide John Hannah, former Cheney National Security assistant David Wurmser, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton, and White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.
Fitzgerald also suspects that some emails sent to Vice President Cheney by Libby and senior officials at the CIA as well as Libby and Cheney's email replies during this time were not turned over to Fitzgerald's staff.
The sources added that Fitzgerald had learned about the existence of the missing emails during grand jury testimony given by key players in the case, some of whom are now cooperating with the probe in order to avert an indictment for their own roles in the leak.
The emails contained references to Valerie Plame Wilson's identity and CIA status, but did not say that she was an undercover operative of the CIA. Moreover, according to sources, the emails contained suggestions by the officials on how the White House should respond to what it believed were increasingly destructive comments Wilson had been making about the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence.
The witnesses, who are current and former White House officials who are cooperating in the case, told the grand jury that they communicated verbally and through email with Libby and Rove and other senior officials about Wilson's comments to reporters about the administration's intelligence and how the White House should respond to the media regarding that.
Fitzgerald's staff, however, could not locate the email communication the officials disclosed during their grand jury testimony in the thousands of documents his staff had obtained during the course of his investigation.
Fitzgerald's suspicions about the possibility of evidence destruction arose just a few weeks after he took over the probe into the leak of Plame Wilson's undercover CIA status in early 2004. By then, sources close to the case said, he already believed that Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney's then-chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators related to his role in the leak - were hindering his investigation.