Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bush won't give Congress papers in CIA leak probe. Cheney above the law?

President George W. Bush, asserting executive privilege, has rejected Congress' request for documents on FBI interviews with Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney from a probe to find who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

The Bush administration said on Wednesday that turning over such records would violate the president's rights to counsel from his staff.

In a letter to the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Keith Nelson wrote, "The attorney general has requested that the president assert executive privilege with respect to these documents and the president has done so."

... Rep. Henry Waxman... called the executive privilege claim "ludicrous," but postponed committee action against Mukasey, saying lawmakers needed time to review Bush's claim.

In 2003, as the Bush administration was preparing for war with Iraq, media reports surfaced discussing Wilson's work at the CIA. She is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who at the time accused the Bush administration of tailoring intelligence information to justify the Iraq war.

Following the federal probe into the matter, Cheney aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted on obstruction and perjury charges. Bush subsequently commuted Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence.

Waxman said the probe did not get to the bottom of Cheney's possible role in the leak, prompting his committee to seek the FBI documents.  There is a key document that could explain what the vice president knew and what he did," Waxman said, referring to Libby's statement to the FBI that it was "possible" Cheney instructed him to blow Wilson's CIA undercover identity.

Waxman also noted that a letter from Mukasey to Bush dated Wednesday regarding the executive privilege stance "also raises questions about the president's involvement ... the documents being withheld summarize conversations held directly with the president."

Both Mukasey and Nelson wrote that the White House has attempted to accommodate Waxman's probe of the scandal by making available some FBI reports of interviews with senior White House staff and agency officials.

"We are not prepared to make the same accommodation for reports of interviews with the president and the vice president," Nelson said. - reuters

Update: Looking back now from the new Obama government,  Bush and Cheney, if they outted Plame, both got away with it, didn't they?  They served a full 8 years and then walked away free men. No impeachment. No jail. No trial. I'm sure you've heard what the penalty is for outting a CIA agent if you are a mere mortal.  Bush Sr. was former head of the CIA, so I wonder if Bush/Cheney/Libby/etc.  saw Plame as someone they own? Was this about teaching a lesson in loyalty? Seems that way. Were Bush and Cheney above the law? Some think so:


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Ann said...

Of course Cheney et al. are above the law ... How silly!

Ever since Nixon got in a "little trouble" committing a felony break-in the wealthy and powerful has saw to it that it would never happen again.

But, that was only a felony ... (and I'll say nothing about carpet bombing Laos, Cambodia ... also illegal.)

Reagan and friends had a war that was "illegal" and that was according to the US Congress. Did he get in trouble? Did Oliver North get in trouble? No, he runs for political office ever so often and considered by some, who fall into mainstream thinking, a "national hero."

And, Geo. Bush ... where does one begin?

[Nor are the Dems guiltless. JFK got us into post-colonial war in Vietnam. An US military build-up began with Carter in the "Cold War" while it was well-known the Soviet Union was stagnating and crumbling. Clinton was no messenger of peace in S.E. Europe. And, could anyone really say the growth in the economy in the 90s was 'cause of Clinton's domestic policies? ... But, about criminal acts, I don't know. It seems the Republicans excel, but I may be wrong.]

This is what it's like: Remember reading about the monarchies of pre-enlightened Europe? When the kings and queens and members of the royal courts wine and dined and married each while the rest of humanity ... just suffered under their whims? It's the same today except under the cloak of democracy that sprang from the Enlightenment period. Today, of course, the wealth and powerful don't marry each other and today you must also include the higher echelons of the corporate mega-conglomerates. They have a major role into today's world.

Please don't expect any changes in the near future ... unless, of course, we the people do something ... together. There are no "heroes" except in Hollywood.

Ann said...

Ok, I'll say no more, but I just found this ... It's not only that Cheney is "above the law", he hasn't completely left Washington! This is the article:

Cheney has moles in Obama Administration, reporter says

John Byrne and David Edwards
Published: Wednesday April 1, 2009

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney has moles in the Obama government which report back to him from the Pentagon, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told NPR and MSNBC on Tuesday. Speaking with NPR's Terri Gross, Hersh revealed that the former Vice President -- who he characterized as "really smart" -- has individuals that report back to him from key positions in government. He called these individuals "stay-behinds," an intelligence term generally applied to insiders left behind in foreign governments after the occupying power is driven out. ..."

It continues ... just as everything else.