Reports indicate Bush appointing friend to lead Plame inquiry

Monday, August 8, 2005

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This audio file was created from the text revision dated 2005-07-30 and may not reflect subsequent text edits to this report. (audio help)

Newsweek journalist Michael Isikoff reported that the U.S. leak probe into revealing the CIA status of Valerie Plame is likely to soon be under the oversight of one of Bush's fellow Skull and Bones members, a man, Isikoff writes, who is an "old friend" of the president.

The investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the leak is on a timetable to conclude this October 2005, so the probe is nearing its final stages. Fitzgerald's current boss, Deputy Attorney General James Comey gave Fitzgerald broad leeway to prosecute the case. Comey is leaving the government post to accept a position as general counsel at Lockheed Martin.

A possible candidate to replace Comey, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum, was in the Bush 1968 Skull and Bones class, which consisted of 15 Yalesmen. McCallum was in the news headlines in June for his involvement with coming in at the last moment to push through a 90% reduction ($120 Billion) in the penalties requested against big tobacco companies.

In latest developments of the Fitzgerald investigation, Karl Rove's secretary and Rove's former top aide are being asked why a recorded phone conversation between TIME reporter Matt Cooper and Rove was not available when the call went through the White House switchboard.

How the possible appointment of McCallum to oversee the investigation could affect it, is unknown, and controversial. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recused himself from involvement with the investigation.

One of Bush's very first meetings after being installed as President in the White House was a Skull and Bones reunion. "I joined Skull and Bones, a secret society," Bush wrote in his autobiography, "so secret, I can't say anything more."