Tue, Nov 01, 2005 - Page 7 News List

Democrats ask Bush to apologize after official's indictment in CIA leak case

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , WASHINGTON

US Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, on Sunday called on US President George W. Bush to apologize following the indictment of a senior White House official in the CIA leak case as Democrats made clear that they intended to keep pressure on the administration over the investigation.

"He should apologize, the vice president should apologize, they should come clean with the American public," Reid said on the ABC news program This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

He also said that deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove should resign over his involvement in the case, even though he was not indicted along with Lewis Libby Jr, the chief of staff to US Vice President Dick Cheney.

Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, also called for further disclosure by the administration, focusing on Cheney and his role. The indictment against Libby alleges that Cheney was among those who provided information to Libby about Valerie Wilson's position as a CIA officer.

"What did the vice president know?" Dodd asked on the program Fox News Sunday.

"What were his intentions? Now, there's no suggestion that the vice president is guilty of any crime here whatsoever, but if our standard is just criminality, then we're never going to get to the bottom of this," Dodd said.

Republican allies of the administration sought to minimize the results of the investigation, noting that the accusations of misconduct were confined to Libby and that even he was not charged for revealing Wilson's identify but for lying to federal agents and the grand jury investigating the case.

"It appears to be from the indictment a singular act by Mr. Libby," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, in an appearance on Face the Nation on CBS.

Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican and a close ally of Rove's, was interviewed on ABC and said, "What we found this week is that any alleged wrongdoing is really confined to a single individual." Cornyn said Democrats and others who were looking for "an indictment indicating a broad conspiracy to out a covert CIA agent are going to be disappointed."

But some Republicans suggested that Bush might want to consider staff changes at the White House, if nothing else than to allow a fresh start after an investigation that has appeared to knock the administration off stride.

"You should always be looking for new blood, new energy, qualified staff, new people in the administration," said Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, also appearing on Fox. He said a lack of strong advisers to the president could have been a factor in the failed nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.

Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said the question to him was whether Bush would act more like Reagan, who admitted a mistake and sought to turn his administration around after the Iran-contra scandal, "or is he going to be like Nixon, hunker down, get into the bunker admit no mistakes."

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