Oct. 31 2005 , 2005 -- One of the reporters at the center of the investigation into the leak of the identity of an undercover CIA officer, says he first learned the agent's name from President Bush's top political advisor, Karl Rove.
Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper also said today in an interview with "Good Morning America," that the vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, confirmed to him that Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative.
A grand jury charged Libby on Friday with five felonies alleging obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines. Libby was not charged with the crime that the grand jury was created to investigate -- specifically, who leaked the name of Plame to reporters in 2003. Rove has not been charged.
Wilson, who went to Niger in 2002 to investigate whether or not the country was supplying Iraq with uranium to make weapons of mass destruction, opposed the war. He said he found no evidence of such an exchange in an op-ed in The New York Times. Wilson has argued that the Bush administration revealed his wife's identity in order to silence his opposition to the war.
"There is no question. I first learned about Valerie Plame working at the CIA from Karl Rove," Cooper said.
Libby has since claimed that he heard the Plame rumors from other reporters. Cooper disputed that version of events. "I don't remember it happening that way," he said. "I was taking notes at the time and I feel confident."
If a trial goes ahead, Cooper said he would name Rove as his source of the information.
"Before I spoke to Karl Rove I didn't know Mr. Wilson had a wife and that she had been involved in sending him to Africa."
This update corrects two errors in an earlier version of the story, which referred to Nigeria instead of Niger, and stated that Libby in his conversations with a Time reporter referred to Valerie Plame as a covert CIA operative. ABC News regrets the error.