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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Rove 'will not face' leak charges
Karl Rove
Mr Rove denies any part in the leak
White House aide Karl Rove will not be charged over the leak of a CIA officer's identity, his lawyer says.

Robert Luskin said he had heard the news from the special prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, on Monday.

Another official, Lewis Libby, has been charged with perjury and obstructing justice. He has resigned pending trial.

Covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name appeared in the media in 2003 after her husband criticised the Bush government over the invasion of Iraq.

Ms Plame's husband, former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, said the administration had twisted intelligence to justify going to war.

'Elated'

Correspondents say the announcement lifts a legal and political cloud from the White House, which has had to face a stream of bad news in the run-up to November's mid-term Congressional elections.

We believe the special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr Rove's conduct
Robert Luskin,
Karl Rove's lawyer

Both Mr Libby and Mr Rove deny having played any part in the leak.

Mr Libby is accused of lying to FBI investigators and a grand jury about how and when he learned that Ms Plame was a CIA officer and of lying about disclosing classified information to reporters.

But Mr Luskin said he hoped Mr Rove would now be left in peace.

"Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald formally advised us that he does not anticipate seeking charges against Karl Rove," Mr Luskin said.

"We believe the special counsel's decision should put an end to the baseless speculation about Mr Rove's conduct."

A spokesman for Mr Rove told the Associated Press news agency he was "elated" by the news.

Bush 'stronger'

Republican politicians reacted with relief.

Former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich told Reuters news agency the president was looking "a little better, a little stronger".

But Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean told the NBC network: "I think this is probably good news for the White House, but it's not very good news for America."

Mr Rove has testified several times before a grand jury in the case and is expected to face further questioning about his conversations with reporters at the time of the leak.

US Vice-President Dick Cheney, for whom Mr Libby worked as chief of staff at the time of the scandal, could also be called to testify in the case.


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