October 09, 2003

Senators reiterate call for special prosecutor to investigate

Sen. Tom Duck-It (D-SD) and Sen. Joe Biden
(D-Sellaware) are *not* political grenade hurlers.
Maybe one good thing will come out of the "Total
Recall" Putsch in California, maybe the last Democrat
has turned the other cheek...Business as usual is
unacceptable. We are in a *civil* (just barely) war.
No more polite concession speeches, no more avoidance
of harsh words like "liar" and "idiot." It is time to
fight...If Biden and Duck-It have realized it, the
hour is indeed very late (i.e., as the bard sang, "Let
us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late)...

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/10/09/leak.main/index.html

Dems blast White House on leak probe

Senators reiterate call for special prosecutor to investigate

WASHINGTON (CNN) --Four leading Democratic senators
accused the White House on Thursday of bungling a
probe into the leak of an undercover CIA officer's
name in what the outed operative's husband calls an
attempt at political intimidation.

In a letter to President Bush, Minority Leader Tom
Daschle of South Dakota and three others said the
White House has made "at least five serious missteps"
in the leak probe so far.

The biggest is leaving Attorney General John Ashcroft
in charge of the probe rather than naming a special
prosecutor to handle it, as they have called for
previously, they said.

"We are at risk of seeing this investigation so
compromised that those responsible for this national
security breach will never be identified and
prosecuted," the senators wrote.

The letter was signed by Sens. Joseph Biden of
Delaware, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee; Carl Levin of Michigan, ranking
Democrat on the Armed Services Committee; and Sen.
Charles Schumer of New York, one of the first
lawmakers to call for an investigation of the leak.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House
or the Justice Department.

The White House has said it is cooperating with the
investigation, which was sparked by the publication of
CIA operative Valerie Plame's name in a July 14 piece
by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, co-host of CNN's
"Crossfire" program. Novak attributed the report to
"senior administration officials."

The disclosure came about a week after Plame's
husband, Joseph Wilson, a retired career diplomat and
former ambassador, wrote a New York Times op-ed
article suggesting the Bush administration distorted
intelligence to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq
in March.

The White House later said the reference to British
intelligence reports that Iraq tried to purchase
uranium in Africa should not have been included in
Bush's State of the Union speech.

Wilson has said the White House leaked his wife's name
to retaliate against him and to intimidate other
critics who might consider coming forward, a charge
administration officials have disputed .

White House counsel Alberto Gonzales will review
staffers' records of any contacts related to the
matter before turning them over to investigators.

The White House calls the procedure standard, but some
Democrats suggest it would allow Gonzales to keep
track of damaging information or the focus of the
investigation.

Other missteps the senators cited in their letter
Thursday include:

Failing to order employees to preserve evidence
until three days after the Justice Department probe
began.

Not delivering that order to all staff until the
following day.

Waiting another day to extend that order to the
Pentagon and the State Department.

In addition, the senators wrote, White House press
secretary Scott McClellan's declaration that three
senior officials were not responsible for the leak
"has now put the Justice Department in the position of
having to determine not only what happened, but also
whether to contradict the publicly stated position of
the White House."

McClellan said Tuesday he had questioned White House
political adviser Karl Rove, National Security Council
aide Elliot Abrams and Lewis Libby, Vice President
Dick Cheney's chief of staff about the leak and was
told "they were not involved."





Posted by richard at October 9, 2003 02:50 PM