Another lingering mystery: the role played by newspaper columnist Robert Novak and the original "senior administration official" who first leaked Valerie Plame's identity. Novak's July 14, 2003, column identifying Plame touched off the investigation in the first place. One lawyer involved in the case who declined to be identified because of the matter's confidentiality said Novak decided "early on" to cooperate with Fitzgerald's probe and ID his source—whom Fitzgerald never charged, apparently because the mystery leaker told the truth to the grand jury. It still is not clear if Novak testified before the grand jury or simply gave a statement. But the lawyer said Novak—and several other figures in the probe—may initially have been able to testify undetected because witnesses were allowed to take an underground elevator up to the grand jury, making it less likely they would be spotted by journalists. In the summer of 2004, presiding Judge Thomas Hogan ordered all witnesses to go through the front door. As a result, Rove—who made four grand-jury appearances—didn't get noticed testifying until October 2004. Novak declined to comment to NEWSWEEK.
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