TIME Exclusive - MATTHEW COOPER: WHAT I TOLD THE GRAND JURY

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New York – In his 2 1/2 hour testimony last Wednesday before the grand jury investigating the CIA leak case, TIME White House correspondent Matthew Cooper testified that when he called White House political advisor Karl Rove the week of July 6, 2003, Rove did not reveal Joe Wilson’s wife’s name and did not reveal her covert status to Cooper. But he did say that Wilson’s wife works at the “Agency on WMD.” This was the first time Cooper had ever heard of Wilson’s wife.

Cooper writes in this week’s issue that he testified that, although it’s not reflected in his notes or subsequent emails, he had a distinct memory of Rove ending the call by saying, “I’ve already said too much.” Cooper writes this could have meant he was worried about being indiscreet or just late for a meeting or something else. “I don’t know, but that sign-off has been in my memory for two years,” Cooper writes.

Cooper writes that special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald “asked me several different ways if Rove indicated how he had heard that (Valerie) Plame worked at the CIA.” Cooper says he testified that Rove did not.

Cooper also writes about his August 2004 testimony before the grand jury relating to his conversation with Vice President Cheney’s Chief of Staff I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby. Cooper writes that, like Rove, Libby never used Plame’s name or indicated that her status was covert and he never told Cooper that he had heard about Plame from other reporters, as some press accounts have indicated. On background, Cooper had asked Libby if he had heard anything about Wilson’s wife sending him to Niger. Libby answered with words to the effect of “Yeah, I’ve heard that too.”

The grand jury, Cooper writes, somewhat reflected the demographics of the District of Columbia. The majority were African-American women and disproportionately women. He writes that one third of his 2 1/2 hours of testimony was spent answering their questions, not the prosecutor’s, although he posed them on their behalf.

Cooper testified before the grand jury after a 14-month legal battle that went to the Supreme Court and complied only after receiving a specific waiver from his sources. He is one of four reporters known to have offered testimony to the grand jury—along with Tim Russert of NBC News and Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post. He’s the only one to write fully about the secret grand jurors and the special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald.

The full story is on TIME.com at:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1083870,00.html