The Justice Department is investigating allegations that White House officials revealed the identity of a CIA agent whose husband had questioned President Bush's claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Africa.
The matter has been referred to the department, which "will now take appropriate action, whatever that is," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
She said she was unaware of any White House involvement in the matter.
"I know nothing of any such White House effort to reveal any of this, and it certainly would not be the way that the president would expect his White House to operate," Condoleezza Rice told "Fox News Sunday."
She pledged White House cooperation in the inquiry.
A senior Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the Justice Department has received a letter from CIA Director George Tenet to look into the matter.
The department and the FBI now are trying to determine whether there was a violation of the law and, if so, then whether a full-blown criminal investigation is warranted, the official said.
In July, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., sent a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller asking him to order an immediate criminal investigation into government leaks that might have unmasked the CIA agent.
"To reveal an agent's identity is a despicable and dastardly act ... that could endanger lives or the security of the country," Schumer said Sunday in a telephone interview. "There has to be a thorough and complete and fearless investigation that goes wherever it leads."
The flap began in January when Bush said in his State of the Union address that British intelligence officials had learned that Iraq had attempted to purchase yellowcake uranium in Africa.