Sunday, April 09, 2006

Senator Asks Bush, Cheney for Explanation

Senator Asks Bush, Cheney for Explanation - Yahoo! News

"We ought to get to the bottom of it so it can be evaluated by the American people," said Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record) of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"There's been enough of a showing that the president of the United States owes a specific explanation to the American people ... about exactly what he did," Specter said.

Libby faces trial, likely in January, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to the grand jury and investigators about what he told reporters about CIA officer

Valerie Plame

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Valerie Plame.

Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald did not say in the filing that Cheney authorized Libby to leak Plame's identity, and Bush is not accused of doing anything illegal.

The investigation is looking into whether Plame's identify was disclosed to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, an Iraq war critic. Wilson had accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Wilson said Sunday that Bush and Cheney should release transcripts of their interviews with Fitzgerald.

"It seems to me that first and foremost, the White House needs to come clean on this matter," Wilson said on ABC's "This Week." "My own view of this is that the White House owes the American people and particularly our service people who have been sent into war, an apology for having misrepresented the facts."

The lawyer knowledgeable about the case said Bush instructed Cheney to "get it out" and left the details about disseminating the intelligence to him. The lawyer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case for the White House, said Cheney chose Libby and communicated the president's wishes to his then-top aide.

It is not known when the conversation between Bush and Cheney took place. The White House has declined to provide the date when the president used his authority to declassify the portions of the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate.

"There has to be a detailed explanation as to precisely what Vice President Cheney did, what the president said to him and an explanation by the president as to what he said," Specter said.

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