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Looks like it wasn't a very fun 3 1/2 hours for the Rover.

Rove testified to the grand jury that when he told Cooper that Plame worked at the agency, he was only passing along unverified gossip, according to people familiar with his testimony.

In contrast, Cooper has testified that Rove told him in a phone conversation on July 11, 2003, that Plame worked for the CIA and played a role in having the agency select her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to make a fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002.

Cooper has also testified that Rove, as well as a second source -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney -- portrayed the information about Plame as accurate and authoritative.

Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin has been putting out the info that Rove's only legal problems stem from his failure to disclose his conversation with Matt Cooper in his first grand jury testimony.  However, Waas is reporting that Fitzgerald is also examing discrepancies in Rove and Cooper's account of their conversation in July 2003.

Waas elaborates further on Rove's legal problems.

Cooper has testified that based on his conversations with Rove and Libby, he felt confident enough about the information to identify Plame as a CIA officer in a July 17 Time story.

It has been widely reported that Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fizgerald has been trying to determine whether Rove tried to mislead the FBI and the grand jury in the early stages of the leak probe when he failed to disclose that he had talked to Cooper about Plame three days before she was outed as a CIA officer. But it has not been previously known that much of the questioning of Rove on Wednesday also focused on the contradictions between Cooper's and Rove's accounts of their crucial July 11 conversation.

Rove did not disclose the conversation with Cooper when he was first interviewed in the early stages of the leak probe by the FBI in October 2003, and again during his first appearance before the grand jury in February 2004. Later, Rove voluntarily returned to the grand jury and testified about the Cooper conversation, saying he had forgotten about it in his earlier statements to the FBI and in his first grand jury appearance.

Originally posted to dumbya on Fri Apr 28, 2006 at 04:00 PM PDT.

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