The special counsel appointed in late December 2003 to investigate the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson found out the identity of the Bush administration official who disclosed her undercover status to syndicated columnist Robert Novak just two months after the probe began.
That month, Justice Department investigators working on the leak case approached a senior official in the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney who had been identified by witnesses as having played a major role in the Plame Wilson leak.
The senior official decided to cooperate with the investigation and told Fitzgerald that Libby and Rove spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson, the attorneys said.
The official has been identified by attorneys and four current and former White House officials as John Hannah, a senior national security aide on loan to Vice President Dick Cheney from then-Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs John Bolton.
Hannah worked with Libby on the issue of weapons of mass destruction as part of an informal team known as the "White House Iraq Group." Hannah told friends last year that he was worried he might be implicated by the investigation, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Libby was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators related to his role in the leak. Hannah was named Cheney's national security adviser the day Libby was indicted.
Maybe it's just me, but I see a world of irony in that last sentence! Here's the money shot, folks:
Rove told FBI investigators on five occasions and testified twice before a grand jury that he distributed damaging information about Plame to the Republican National Committee, outside political consultants and the media after Novak had disclosed her identity, according to the attorneys who are familiar with Rove's testimony.
However, Rove was actually a source for Novak and another reporter who wrote about Plame Wilson but failed to disclose that fact in nearly a dozen times he was questioned about his role in the leak.
Sources said that Fitzgerald is now preparing the paperwork to present to a grand jury outlining the charges against Rove in hopes of securing an indictment.
I feel the blood draining from my brain...