This is actually very interesting. Thanks Ed N Sted for pointing us to this piece in the Village Voice by Murray Waas. An investigative journalist, Murray Waas, has done some of the groundbreaking work on the Plame leak scandal. He writes that Attorney General Ashcroft had to finally recuse himself because of the serious questions investigators had about Karl Rove's version of events:
Justice Department officials made the crucial decision in late 2003 to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame in large part because investigators had begun to specifically question the veracity of accounts provided to them by White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to senior law enforcement officials.Ashcroft is a pig, no doubt. So things must have been pretty bad for him to have to recuse himself. Ashcroft knew that turning the matter over to real prosecutors would mean real trouble for Rove:
Several of the federal investigators were also deeply concerned that then attorney general John Ashcroft was personally briefed regarding the details of at least one FBI interview with Rove, despite Ashcroft's own longstanding personal and political ties to Rove, the Voice has also learned. The same sources said Ashcroft was also told that investigators firmly believed that Rove had withheld important information from them during that FBI interview.
During his initial interview with the FBI, in the fall of 2003, Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed Plame with Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, according to two legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Federal investigators were also skeptical of claims by Rove that he had only first learned of Plame's employment with the CIA from a journalist, even though he also claimed he could not specifically recall the name of the journalist.Rove is such an arrogant bastard. He plays word games and semantics with political people and the press all the time. That doesn't work with the FBI. Actually, the FBI prosecutes people who lie to them.
As the truthfulness of Rove's accounts became more of a focus of investigators, career Justice Department employees and senior FBI officials became even more concerned about the continuing role in the investigation of Ashcroft, because of his close relationship with Rove. Rove had earlier served as an adviser to Ashcroft during the course of three political campaigns. And Rove’s onetime political consulting firm had been paid more than $746,000 for those services.
Of course, in any other administration, Rove would already have been fired and tried for treason. Hard to think of another President who would tolerate a traitor who outed a spy during war time.