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Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bush claims privilege to withhold leak records

July 17, 2008

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— President Bush invoked executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing the FBI report of an interview with Vice President Dick Cheney and other records related to the administration's leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003.

The president's decision drew a sharp protest Wednesday from Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of House Oversight Committee, which had subpoenaed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over the documents.

"This unfounded assertion of executive privilege does not protect a principle; it protects a person," the California Democrat said. "If the vice president did nothing wrong, what is there to hide?"

Waxman left little doubt he would soon move for a committee vote to hold Mukasey in contempt of Congress.

Cheney's chief of staff in 2003, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was later convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI about his role in leaking Plame's name and CIA affiliation to a reporter. Last July, Bush commuted Libby's 2 1/2-year sentence, sparing him from serving prison time.

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