Bush Blocks Congressional Inquiry on CIA Leak Case

Asserting executive privilege, President Bush has refused to comply with a congressional request for documents relating to the leak of the identity of former CIA operative Valerie Wilson.  VOA's Dan Robinson reports, a House committee delayed a vote on citing the U.S. attorney general with contempt in connection with the matter:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey communicated the White House position in a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chaired by Democrat Henry Waxman. 

The panel had issued a subpoena to compel the Bush administration to give Congress the transcript of an FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney, along with other documents.

Majority Democrats have continued to investigate the affair, which involved leaking of the CIA identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, wife of former U.S. ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the media.  Joseph Wilson was a key critic of Bush administration justifications for the Iraq war.

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, was convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice and giving false statements to federal investigators in the case, in which he and a State Department official were involved in leaking Wilson's identity.

Libby acknowledged to investigators at one point that it was possible Cheney had ordered the identity of the former covert agent revealed.  Libby's two-and-a-half-year jail sentence was commuted by President Bush.

Congressman Waxman called the White House assertion of executive privilege ludicrous, and while delaying a panel vote on the contempt citation for Mukasey, said this:

"As the committee considers its next steps, I hope the president and vice president will also consider theirs," said Congressman Waxman. "Congress and the American public are entitled to know what role the president and the vice president played in the despicable outing of Ms. Wilson.

Ranking panel Republican Tom Davis protested to Waxman as other Democrats made statements, and asserted that Republicans needed more time to assess the attorney general's letter.

The two men had this exchange:

DAVIS:  "You have obviously spent some time getting your staff wound up on the politics of this and I would like to move ahead to the bills that were on notice to do this morning."

WAXMAN:  "All members were informed that on the agenda this morning was to vote for contempt of the attorney general of the United States, and that is a serious matter and members are concerned about it."

Angry Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich urged Waxman to proceed with the contempt vote, asserting the White House is merely trying to shield the vice president from further scrutiny:

"There is no, either historic or legitimate legal position that this administration has to assert executive privilege at this time, and it is being done solely to try to stop this committee from moving forward, and this committee should not, should not accede to this contemptuous device by the president and his attorney general," said Congressman Kucinich.

Attorney General Mukasey said the executive privilege claim is not an attempt to conceal information from Congress, but an effort to protect the separation of powers and what he called the integrity of future Justice Department investigations of the White House.

Waxman rejected Mukasey's assertion that the FBI interview with Vice President Cheney has anything to do with internal White House deliberations.  The White House action, added Waxman, has darkened the cloud over the vice president and left important questions unanswered. 

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs