Bush Invokes Exec Privilege on CIA Leak

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CBNNews.com - President Bush is invoking executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing the records of a CIA leak investigation.

Democrats want to see what role Bush administration officials might have played in the release of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Those records include an FBI interview with Vice President Dick Cheney. Now, Democrats are accusing Bush of trying to hide something or protect someone.

"This unfounded assertion of executive privilege does not protect a principle; it protects a person," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of House Oversight Committee, which had subpoenaed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to turn over the documents. "If the vice president did nothing wrong, what is there to hide?"

The House Oversight Committee is deciding whether to hold Mukasey in contempt of Congress because of his refusal to turn over the documents.

But Mukasey said in a letter to Bush that the assertion of the privilege would not be about hiding anything.

Rather, invoking executive privilege would protect the separation of powers as well as the integrity of future Justice Department investigations of the White House.

"I am greatly concerned about the chilling effect that compliance with the committee's subpoena would have on future White House deliberations and White House cooperation with future Justice Department investigations," Mukasey wrote Bush. "I believe it is legally permissible for you to assert executive privilege with respect to the subpoenaed documents, and I respectfully request that you do so."

State Department official Richard Armitage first disclosed Plame's identity as an operative with the CIA operative to Robert Novak, a columnist who used former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove as a confirming source for a 2003 article.

Source: The Associated Press, USA Today

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