updated 6/18/2004 6:02:10 PM ET 2004-06-18T22:02:10

The White House’s top lawyer was questioned by a federal grand jury Friday in the criminal investigation of who in the Bush administration leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year.

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White House counsel Alberto Gonzales underwent questioning at the federal courthouse. He was the latest in a string of administration officials to be asked about the unauthorized disclosure of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the news media.

“The president directed the White House to cooperate fully, and Judge Gonzales was just doing his part to cooperate,” said White House press secretary Scott McClellan, who also has gone before the grand jury.

Vice President Dick Cheney was recently questioned by investigators, and President Bush has indicated that he, too, expects to be questioned. Bush has consulted with a private attorney about the case, since the White House counsel can represent him only on official matters.

Disclosure of an undercover officer’s identity can be a federal crime.

Syndicated columnist Robert Novak revealed Plame’s work for the CIA a week after Wilson publicly criticized Bush’s claim that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from the African nation of Niger.

Wilson had earlier been sent to Niger by the CIA to check out the allegation and concluded it was unfounded. Bush stated subsequently in his State of the Union address that Iraq had sought to buy uranium in Africa.

Wilson has said that revealing his wife’s name was an attempt to discredit him. In printing Plame’s name, Novak wrote that two administration officials said Wilson’s wife suggested sending him on the Niger trip.

Wilson has suggested in a book that the leaker was Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff.

The White House denies the claim and accuses Wilson of seeking to bolster the campaign of Democrat John Kerry, for whom he has acted as a foreign policy adviser.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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