Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Report: Bush Exceeded Power by Withholding Cheney Comments

There are 97 days until Jan. 20, 2009.


t r u t h o u t | 10.15


Report: Bush Exceeded Power by Withholding Cheney Comments

Tuesday 14 October 2008


by: Jeff Bliss, Bloomberg


    President George W. Bush overstepped his authority by withholding an FBI interview of Vice President Dick Cheney from a congressional panel probing the leak of a CIA agent's identity, a draft bipartisan House report said.


    The interview may shed light on who disclosed former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity, the draft report said. The report was circulated by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, and Virginia Representative Tom Davis, the panel's senior Republican.


    The president's decision to withhold the interview transcript from the committee in July "was legally unprecedented and an inappropriate use of executive privilege," the report said.


    The committee is investigating what role Cheney may have had in the leak of Plame's work in 2003. Her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had questioned evidence used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.


    Attorney General Michael Mukasey had told the committee that Bush's refusal to release the Cheney interview was within the president's authority, under executive privilege, to keep his discussions with advisers private.


    White House spokesman Tony Fratto today objected to the report and another one circulated by Waxman that said the administration wrongly asserted executive privilege regarding a separate panel investigation of climate change and Clean Air Act policies.


    Fratto said the committee received "upwards of a million pages of documents" from the administration and that today's reports were partisan and unhelpful.


    "Campaign Attack"


    "We're focused on more important business than another campaign attack from Representative Waxman," he said.


    In August, a federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by Plame and Wilson that accused Cheney, former White House political adviser Karl Rove and former Cheney aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby of conspiring to reveal Plame's identity.


    Plame and Wilson accused the three men and former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage of leaking her name to retaliate against Wilson.


    Libby was convicted by a federal jury in March 2007 of obstructing a Department of Justice probe into the leak of Plame's identity. Bush commuted Libby's sentence three months later while leaving the conviction intact. No one has been charged with illegally disclosing Plame's identity.


    The report on climate change said it was an "abuse" for administration officials to withhold 2,000 pages of documents from the committee.


    The documents concern administration decisions to prevent California and other states from seeking to reduce greenhouse gases from motor vehicles and adopt ozone standards at odds with Environmental Protection Agency scientists' recommendations.



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