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Bush, Cheney Urged to Discuss Leak Case

GOP Sen. Arlen Specter says they should `tell the American people exactly what happened.' An ex-envoy adds they need to `come clean.'

April 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney should speak publicly about their involvement in the leaking of classified information so people can understand what happened, a leading Republican senator said Sunday.

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

In a federal court filing last week, the prosecutor in the case said Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, testified before a grand jury that he was authorized by Bush, through Cheney, to leak information from a classified document that detailed intelligence agencies' conclusions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"I think it is necessary for the president and vice president to tell the American people exactly what happened," Specter told "Fox News Sunday."

"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 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly lying to a grand jury and investigators about what he told reporters about CIA officer Valerie Plame.

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

The investigation is looking into whether Plame's identity was disclosed to discredit her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, a critic of the Iraq war.

Wilson had accused the administration of twisting prewar intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq.

"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."

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