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Journal: Focus is on on Cheney's office in leak probe

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WASHINGTON -- With the grand jury in the CIA leak investigation expected to vote soon to bring charges against White House officials, the two-year probe appears to be focused on the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the chief architects and defenders of the administration's Iraq war policy, The Wall Street Journal reported on its (paid-restricted) website 11:37 AM ET Wednesday.

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Administration officials were bracing for the likelihood that Mr. Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, who is known to have talked at least three times with New York Times reporter Judith Miller about the Central Intelligence Agency operative whose identity was leaked, would be indicted, according to people close to the administration. Others in the vice president's office also could face charges, these people said.

It isn't clear if anyone outside the vice president's office would be charged with a crime. President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, testified four times before the grand jury, but as of late yesterday, it wasn't clear if he would be caught in the prosecutor's net. If Mr. Rove isn't charged, it would be a relief for the White House and Republicans -- though one significantly tempered if several White House officials are indicted.

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The grand jury, which has met on Wednesdays and Fridays, is set to expire on Friday. Even if the grand jury votes on indictments today, Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald could file them under seal until later in the week. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald has declined to specify when such an announcement would come, saying only that it would be made in Washington, not in Chicago where he is the U.S. attorney.

CNN reported that no announcement is expected to be made today on possible indictments, citing sources. MSNBC, in an unsourced report, said no indictments were expected today.

One remaining mystery is who provided Ms. Plame's name to Robert Novak, whose column revealed the former operative's identity. While Mr. Novak has declined to say whether he talked to the special prosecutor, an attorney involved in the case confirmed that the columnist had discussed the source of that information. Mr. Novak's attorney declined to comment.

Originally published on Wednesday October 26, 2005.

 


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