Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political advisor, spoke with Time magazine's Matthew Cooper during a critical week in July 2003 when Cooper was reporting on former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a public critic of the Bush administration who was also the husband of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Rove is identified in Cooper's notes from that time period, which Time, under court order, turned over on July 1 to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is investigating whether senior administration officials leaked Plame's name to reporters as retaliation after Wilson, in a New York Times editorial, accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence to justify a war with Iraq.
As word has spread that Rove was identified in Cooper's notes, speculation has run rampant that Rove was the leak.
MSNBC's senior political analyst, Lawrence O'Donnell, wrote today on the Huffington Post website: "I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's e-mails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury."
O'Donnell added: "Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow."
Meanwhile, one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told Newsweek that there was growing "concern" in the White House that Fitzgerald is interested in Rove.
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove talked with Cooper, but said Rove never identified Plame in those conversations. Luskin said Fitzgerald assured him in October and again last week that Rove is not a target of his investigation.