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Cia name leak from whitehouse { September 30 2003 }

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Democrats call for independent probe into possible leak
Name of CIA agent may have come from White House
Bryan Bender, Wayne Washington, Boston Globe
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback

Washington -- Democratic leaders Monday demanded an independent investigation to determine whether senior White House officials illegally leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent to exact revenge on her husband, one of the most vocal critics of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq.

Led by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, scores of lawmakers and presidential candidates called for an independent inquiry -- the first since the independent counsel law expired in 1999. They argued that the review now being conducted by the FBI could not be objective in a Justice Department led by Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Bush appointee.

"We do not believe that this investigation of senior Bush administration officials, possibly including high-level White House staff, can be conducted by the Justice Department because of the obvious and inherent conflicts of interests involved," Daschle wrote in a letter to President Bush and Ashcroft cosigned by three other Democratic senators. "Therefore, we strongly urge the immediate appointment of a special counsel to investigate this matter."

The White House rejected the calls, saying that the Justice Department is the "appropriate agency" to conduct the inquiry and that the president's staff would fully cooperate.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Scott McClellan denied that the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove, was involved in revealing the information, which reportedly was relayed to at least six journalists. McClellan said that Rove, who controls the White House's political operation, was not to blame. "I've made it very clear that he was not involved, that there's no truth to the suggestion that he was," McClellan said.

But former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife's identify was first disclosed in a July 14 article by syndicated columnist Robert Novak, told the Globe in an interview Monday that, "I have full confidence that (Rove), at a minimum, condoned it and did nothing to stop it." Wilson said that at least one reporter told him that Rove said after the Novak column was published that Wilson's wife was "fair game."

A Justice Department official said a preliminary investigation is under way.

"That's to determine whether there needs to be a full-blown investigation," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Publicly revealing the identify of an undercover intelligence official is a violation of federal law, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Exposing secret agents is considered a breach of national security because it could endanger not only them but also their sources.

CIA Director George Tenet requested the investigation, officials said, after the agency completed an internal review of the potential consequences of identifying Wilson's wife, who sources said works in the CIA's operations directorate gathering intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, would not say whether the review concluded that sources were jeopardized.

The allegations have created a firestorm in Washington. McClellan's White House news briefing Monday was at least as intense as the grilling the president's spokesman endured earlier this year over how a discredited report that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger appeared in the president's State of the Union address.

Wilson had been sent by the CIA to investigate the claim, which was made by British officials. A former acting ambassador to Iraq, Wilson said he found no evidence supporting the charge. Later, after it was repeated in Bush's address,

Wilson disputed it and continued criticizing the White House's case for the invasion of Iraq.

Wilson said Monday that he did not know the motive for leaking his wife's identity. But he said he could only surmise that it was to silence him or prevent others from speaking out against the administration's Iraq policy. "It appears to have just been for pure revenge," Wilson said. "That is reprehensible."

Since the nation no longer has an independent counsel law, which called for a panel of judges to appoint a special prosecutor in cases where it was warranted, a special counsel is the next best option, officials said.

2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback

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Agee calls leak dirty politics
Agee discusses leak of name
Agee sees whitehouse getting blowback
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Appeals court upheld ruling against reporters over leak { February 15 2005 }
Ashcroft recused self from investigation { December 31 2003 }
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Bush admits cia leak came from whitehouse { July 12 2007 }
Bush aide testifies leak probe { February 9 2004 }
Bush and lawyer huddle on CIA leak { June 2 2004 }
Bush commuted libby prison sentence { June 2007 }
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Bush toughens support of leak investigation { October 7 2003 }
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Cheney and rove lose importance in whitehouse
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Cheney reportedly interviewed in leak of CIA name { June 5 2004 }
Cheney source of officer name to libby { October 25 2005 }
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Cheney to be defense witness in cia leak case
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Cia name leak from whitehouse { September 30 2003 }
Cia probe widens
Colleague says armitage was cia leak source { August 29 2006 }
Did rove blow spooks cover { September 16 2003 }
Doj investigation whitehouse reveal cia agent
Fitzgerald calls new grand jury after woodward testimony { November 19 2005 }
Judith freed to testify about source lewis libby { September 30 2005 }
Judith miller cant remember where name came from { October 16 2005 }
Judith miller retires from the times
Karl rove testifies before federal grand jury on leak
Last day of probe keeping whitehouse jittery
Leaders express outrage for libby commuted sentence { July 3 2007 }
Leaker said wilson wife fair game { September 28 2003 }
Libby charges dont address cia leak
Libby lawyer told miller to clear scooter libby { October 16 2005 }
Libby may have hidden cheney role { November 13 2005 }
Libby perjury worse than lewinsky perjury
Libby retains 5th amendment by avoiding pardon { July 3 2007 }
Libby says white house superiors approved leak { February 9 2006 }
Libby scapegoated to protect karl rove { January 24 2007 }
Libby trial delayed right after 2006 elections { February 4 2006 }
Matthew cooper testify after rove lawyers maneuvering { July 7 2005 }
Mcclellan cant clear cheney in cia leak case { June 20 2008 }
Memo central to leak delivered to powell { July 21 2005 }
Nbc russert rebuts libby testimony { February 7 2007 }
New tork times reporter jailed for concealing leak { July 7 2005 }
New york times reporter given top security clearance { October 16 2005 }
Novak claims book was source of leak { August 2 2005 }
Novak points to cia { October 1 2003 }
Novak pokes fun at cia leak
Novak wont give up source { October 1 2003 }
Pat buchanan says neocons behind whole thing { July 15 2005 }
Powell gives testimony to grand jury
Press secretary says bush behind leak { October 2007 }
Prison fines await those leak cia identities
Probe exposing cia identity { September 29 2003 }
Prosecutor investigating coverup of leak { July 27 2005 }
Prosecutors question Bush on CIA name leak { June 25 2004 }
Reporter held in contempt
Rove and libby worked damage control { July 22 2005 }
Rove blamed libby to jury { October 20 2005 }
Rove called to testify 5th time { April 27 2006 }
Rove confirmed plame indirectly lawyer says { July 15 2005 }
Rove emailed security official about matthew cooper { July 11 2003 }
Rove fight escalates { July 15 2005 }
Rove legal team furious efforts to convince prosecutor { October 27 2005 }
Rove mclellan interviewed cia probe { October 23 2003 }
Rove told cooper wilsons wife works for agency { July 11 2005 }
Rove wont face indictment in cia leak case { June 13 2006 }
Story from two senior whitehouse employees
Time magazine talked to rove for plane story
Time reporters in contempt of court for cia leak
Time reporters says he first learned of plame from rove { July 18 2005 }
Valerie plame does vanity fair spread { December 3 2003 }
Whitehouse press secretary contradicts libby { December 2007 }
Wilson suggested rove leaked { September 30 2003 }
Woodward attacked by liberals { November 18 2005 }
Woodward eyed after calling fitzgerald overzealous { November 17 2005 }
Woodward was told of plame before leak { November 16 2005 }

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