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darknemus Donating Member (330 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:16 PM
Original message
More Republicans break from party lines to call for Special Prosecutor
Note: I got this as an email from my Broward County coordinator of Clark's campaign. I am only posting the body of it in its entirety as I can't find a link to it much of anywhere, and I have looked. Mods, PLEASE REMOVE THIS from LBN if its a problem post. I'm new here and I don't want to rock the boat. I know the article is dated Oct. 3rd, but the content seems new, at least to me.

(begin copy / paste)


Copyright 2003 Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
The Tribune (Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce, FL)

October 3, 2003, Friday

SECTION: WASHINGTON DATELINE

KR-ACC-NO: K7385

LENGTH: 1021 words

HEADLINE: Some Republicans break with party line against a special prosecutor

BYLINE: By Philip Dine

BODY:
WASHINGTON_The controversy over the leak of the identity of a CIA operative intensified Thursday, as Democrats spoke of "a cancer in this administration" in terms reminiscent of Watergate, and Republicans accused their foes of "political opportunism."

Meanwhile, at least one Republican congressional committee chairman was laying the groundwork for a potential separate investigation by his panel. And sources at the Justice Department said the agency would likely broaden its inquiry beyond the White House, to include the State and Defense departments.

Most of the political heat on Capitol Hill Thursday had to do with the past ties between Attorney General John Ashcroft and White House political adviser Karl Rove. Rove was a paid consultant on three of Ashcroft's campaigns in Missouri for governor or senator.

Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador sharply critical of President Bush's Iraq policy, has suggested that Rove was connected to leaking the fact that Wilson's wife was a CIA operative. Wilson has acknowledged that he has no evidence, and the White House has denied that Rove had anything to do with the leak.

Democratic critics said the relationship between Ashcroft and Rove meant the attorney general should turn the investigation over to a special counsel.

"The facts speak for themselves, and obviously Mr. Ashcroft is not the right person to investigate Karl Rove," said Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla. "It's mind-boggling that these two men don't understand that friends don't investigate friends, not when the matter is this serious."

But most Republicans said they were satisfied with Ashcroft remaining in charge, at least for now. "I know Ashcroft very well, and I'm sure he'll go by the book," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., who ran the GOP congressional campaigns in the 2000 and 2002 elections.

At the same time, Davis signaled some of the problems the White House might be facing. He is potentially a major player in the matter as chairman of the House Government Affairs Committee, the chief investigative panel in the House for matters across the federal government.

Davis said in an interview that he is "gearing up" to lead a possible congressional investigation of the matter, by speaking with legal counsel, the White House, the "victims" of the leak and the ranking Democrat on his committee, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

"It's our obligation to do so," Davis said. "This is something we can't tolerate."

Disclosing a CIA officer's identity is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine because it can jeopardize the life of the agent and anyone overseas who has been in contact with the officer.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Justice Department official said that the State and Defense departments and possibly others might be asked, by letter, to preserve phone records, e-mail messages and other documents.

Some Republicans began breaking with the GOP's strong line against a special prosecutor.

Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., a vociferous supporter of Bush, said that while Ashcroft is "a very honest person" and the Democrats were trying to score political points, it might make sense for the White House to look "very closely" at appointing an independent counsel.

Polls show Americans strongly favoring appointment of a special counsel to examine the matter.

Meanwhile, several Republicans condemned the leak as reprehensible and acknowledged they didn't understand why the White House apparently did nothing until this week to try to find out how it occurred.

"The breach is terrible. We've got to find out who did it," said Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a deputy GOP whip. "I don't know why they waited. That ought to be part of the investigation. It's the sort of thing that should have set alarm bells off as soon as they heard it."

The matter arose on July 14 when conservative columnist Robert Novak wrote that two senior administration officials had disclosed to him that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA operative.

Wilson had been asked by the CIA to investigate administration claims that Iraq had tried to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore for nuclear weapons from Africa and had determined that this wasn't true. Bush later retracted the claims, and Wilson's criticism of administration policy helped spark a furor about the alleged use of faulty intelligence to support the war with Iraq.

Wilson says the leak was meant to intimidate him _ and silence others who might criticize administration policy.

The issue remained dormant until this week, when the Justice Department disclosed that it had begun an investigation at the request of CIA Director George Tenet. At that point, the White House said it would cooperate with the inquiry.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who likened the controversy to a cancer in the administration, said that Ashcroft's political ties disqualify his department from overseeing the investigation. "He can't conduct an objective investigation, and the people of America would not accept any of his findings," Harkin said.

But Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, denied that Ashcroft would mix his politics and his professional duties.

"Maybe because I'm from John Ashcroft's state, maybe because I know him personally, I have no questions at all about his integrity," Akin said. "He hasn't made any bones about the fact that he's a conservative, but he's an honorable conservative."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said administration critics have become emboldened amid falling poll numbers for Bush and the request for more funding for Iraq.

"The last two to three weeks, people are being more openly critical," Durbin said. "With the $87 billion request, the casualties _ people are starting to ask hard questions of the administration they should have been asking months ago. That includes the press as well as everyone else in public life."

___

(c) 2003, St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Visit the Post-Dispatch on the World Wide Web at http://www.stltoday.com /

JOURNAL-CODE: SL

LOAD-DATE: October 3, 2003
Lale M. Mamaux
Press Secretary
Office of Congressman Robert Wexler
213 Cannon House Office Building
(202) 225- 3001
lale.mamaux@mail.house.gov

(I checked St. Louis Post Dispatch's website and didn't find the article)

-darknemus

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J B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. It's sad that when I read the words "honourable conservative,"
I have the urge to burst out laughing.

Really. It's sad. They weren't always this nuts.
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Dookus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
2. Sorry...
I have to lock this. DU's copyright rules don't allow us to reprint entire articles. It's also a few days old. If you can find a link, please feel free to post it in GD or Politics/Campaigns with no more than 4 paragraphs excerpted from the article. Thanks a lot!

Dookus
DU Moderator
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