During the Plame scandal, Bush said, “If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action.” And, on behalf of Bush, Scott McClellan, who succeeded Fleischer as press secretary, denied at the time that Rove was implicated: “He wasn’t involved. The president knows he wasn’t involved…It’s simply not true.” Yet, as it turned out, Rove was neck-deep in the scandal. Not only had he been Novak’s second source, he also had told Matt Cooper, then a Time magazine reporter, that Plame was a CIA officer.
The subsequent investigation led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald focused on Rove’s role and whether Rove had testified accurately about his conversations with Novak and Cooper about Plame. As Michael Isikoff and I reported in Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Fitzgerald came close to indicting Rove for not testifying accurately, but ultimately he chose not to.
I can’t find it in a web search, but I have heard that publicly exposing a federal agent (which Plame was with the CIA or a FBI agent is), is a felony - something I didn’t hear much about when Plame was outed.