In September 2003, the CIA requested that the Justice Department
investigate the matter.[57
] Rove was identified by the New York Times
in connection to the Plame leak on 2 October 2003
, in an article that both highlighted Attorney GeneralJohn Ashcroft
's employment of Rove in three previous political campaigns and which pointed to Ashcroft's potential conflict of interest in investigating Rove. In recusing himself from the case two months later, Ashcroft named Deputy Attorney General James Comey, to be "acting attorney general" for the case ...
On 13 August 2005
journalist Murray Waas reported that Justice Department and FBI officials had recommended appointing a special prosecutor to the case because they felt that Rove had not been truthful in early interviews, withholding from FBI investigators his conversation with Cooper about Plame and maintaining that he had first learned of Plame's CIA identity from a journalist whose name Rove could not recall. In addition, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, from whose prior campaigns Rove had been paid $746,000 in consulting fees, had been briefed on the contents of at least one of Rove's interviews with the FBI - raising concerns of a conflict of interest with the not-yet-recused Attorney General.