NBC News and news services
updated 10/31/2005 2:06:54 PM ET 2005-10-31T19:06:54

Presidential adviser Karl Rove should be fired for his role in the CIA leak, the husband of the agent whose cover was exposed told NBC’s “Today” show on Monday.

“I think the president should fire him ... these are firing offenses,” Joe Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador, said of Rove.

Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties have called for a shake-up of Bush's administration following Friday's indictment of Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, on obstruction of justice and perjury charges in a 2-year-old investigation into who leaked CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity, faces a trial. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.

The Senate’s top Democrat also said Rove should be fired and suggested that Bush should apologize for Libby’s alleged actions. And a veteran Republican senator added that Bush needs to bring "new blood" into his White House.

Wilson said Rove also had a role since Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper has said it was Rove who told him about Plame.

Rove is a “party to the compromise of national security of this country,” Wilson alleged. Rove was not indicted Friday but was told that he remains under investigation.

Wilson also welcomed Libby’s indictment, saying it showed that “no man is above the law” in the United States.

Wilson contends that his wife’s identity was deliberately revealed by the Bush administration to get back at him for publicly challenging U.S. prewar intelligence on Iraq.

Wilson added that “we have received threats” over their allegations and have had to change their phone listing as a result.

Senators call for changes
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Sunday that Rove should resign because of his role in exposing an undercover CIA officer.

"First of all, the vice president issues this very terse statement praising Libby for all the great things he's done," Reid said. "Then we have the president come on camera a few minutes later calling him Scooter and what a great patriot he is. There has not been an apology to the American people for this obvious problem in the White House," Reid, D-Nev., told ABC's "This Week."

Meanwhile, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said Cheney should "come clean" about his involvement and why he discussed Plame with Libby before Libby spoke to reporters about her.

"What did the vice president know? What were his intentions?" Dodd asked on "Fox News Sunday."

"Now, there's no suggestion the vice president is guilty of any crime here whatsoever. But if our standard is just criminality, then we're never going to get to the bottom of this," Dodd said.

Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi said Bush should be on the lookout for "new blood, new energy, qualified staff, new people in administration." He said poor advice may have even contributed to the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

‘60 Minutes’ interview
In an interview aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Wilson said that Plame, 42, was in shock when she saw her name and that of her fictitious employer published in a syndicated column by Robert Novak.

“She felt like she’d been hit in the stomach. It took her breath away,” Wilson said.

“When he published her name — it was very easy to unravel everything about her, her entire cover,” Wilson said. “You live your cover.”

Asked whether she realized then that her career as a CIA undercover agent was over, Wilson said: “Absolutely. Sure. There was no doubt about it in her mind. And she wondered for what.”

The CIA declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal process.

Before the exposure, Plame’s identity had been a well kept secret. Friends and even relatives were kept in the dark about her work, Wilson told “60 Minutes.”

“The day that Mr. Novak’s article appeared, my sister-in-law turned to my brother and said, ‘Do you think Joe knew?’ So, not even my brother or my sister-in-law or any of my immediate family knew,” Wilson said.

Ex-spy’s perspective
Former CIA agent Jim Marcinkowski, now a city attorney in Royal Oak, Mich., told “60 Minutes” it was “outrageous” that Plame had been exposed.

“CIA people don’t like cameras. We don’t like publicity. We operate in the background as much as possible. So she’s in a very, very uncomfortable spot,” said Marcinkowski, who trained with Plame at the CIA as a new recruit.

“Her career has been ended,” Marcinkowski said when asked about the damage to Plame, who is the mother of 5-year-old twins.

Wilson said his wife quickly recovered after the initial shock of having her identity compromised “and started making lists of what she had to do to ensure that her assets, her projects, her programs and her operations were protected.”

He said there had been some “specific threats” and that he and his wife had discussed security with various agencies, but he could not say anything further.

The Washington Post reported that Plame, the daughter of an Air Force colonel and a teacher, was recruited by the CIA at the age of 22, shortly after graduating from Pennsylvania State University.

She was trained at a CIA facility simply known as “The Farm” near Williamsburg, Va., and was in the 1985-86 class of CIA officers.

The newspaper quoted Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and acquaintance of Plame’s who was in her officer training class, as saying: “For all intents and purposes out at the CIA, she’s like a leper ... she’s radioactive.”

Cheney replaces Libby
Cheney, moving swiftly to replace an indicted aide, on Monday named attorney David Addington as his chief of staff and John Hannah as his national security adviser.

Both positions had been filled by Libby.

Addington has been Cheney's counsel and Hannah has been his deputy national security adviser.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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