"Two U.S. congressional committees on Wednesday rejected Democrat-backed resolutions that would have compelled the Bush administration to turn over records relating to the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
"Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee and International Relations Committee, who opposed the resolution, said Congress should await the outcome of a federal investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
"Democrats countered that Republicans were trying to protect President George W. Bush and his top political adviser, Karl Rove. "We know that this is a political decision because there is potential embarrassment to the administration," said Massachusetts Democratic Rep. William Delahunt.
"The resolutions, rejected in committee votes along party lines, sought to force the departments of Justice and State to turn over all documents related to Plame.
"Lawyers close to the Plame investigation say there are signs that the 20-month-long inquiry could be wrapped up within weeks. The outcome could have major political implications for Bush, whose approval ratings are already the lowest of his presidency.
"Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, said the leak was meant to discredit him for criticizing Bush's Iraq policy in 2003 after a CIA-funded trip to investigate whether Niger helped supply nuclear materials to Baghdad.
"A reporter for Time magazine said the first person to tell him about Plame was Rove. Rove's attorney says Rove did nothing wrong and has been repeatedly assured he is not a target of Fitzgerald's investigation.
"Democrats have urged Bush to fire Rove or revoke his access to classified information. It is against the law in some cases to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA officer".