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White House won't rule out polygraphs in leak probe

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  • White House won't rule out polygraphs in leak probe

    White House won't rule out polygraphs in leak probe

    Meeting canceled between Democrats, CIA officer's husband

    Wednesday, October 1, 2003 Posted: 5:02 PM EDT (2102 GMT)

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House pledged full cooperation Wednesday with a Justice Department probe into the leak of a CIA operative's name, and a spokesman did not rule out the possibility that Bush administration employees could face lie-detector tests.

    Meanwhile, a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between the husband of that CIA employee and congressional Democrats was canceled out of concern that it would undermine his credibility and lead to allegations of political opportunism, Democratic aides said.

    Joseph Wilson has accused administration officials of leaking the name and occupation of his wife, Valerie Plame, to a journalist in retaliation for an op-ed piece he wrote in The New York Times. That article cast doubt on President Bush's State of the Union claim that Iraq was trying to purchase uranium in Africa.

    Syndicated columnist and CNN contributor Robert Novak identified Plame by name in a July article as a CIA operative on weapons of mass destruction, citing two senior administration officials.

    Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador to Gabon and acting ambassador to Iraq, said the leak was intended to punish him and deter other critics from coming forward with similar accusations on Iraq policy, an allegation administration officials have denied.

    White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Wednesday that the White House has nothing to hide in the matter.

    McClellan said no one has been asked to sit for an interview with investigators, nor has anyone come forward to admit to revealing Plame's identity. Asked if full cooperation meant sitting for lie-detector tests, he said, "Full cooperation is full cooperation."

    Bush said he welcomes the probe, calling leaks of classified information "bad things."

    "If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is," Bush said at a Chicago, Illinois, fund-raiser Tuesday night. "If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of."

    Democrats in Washington raised their voices almost in unison to call for a special counsel to investigate the leak. (Full story) But Bush said he believes the Justice Department can do the job.(Full story)

    Ronald Kessler, the author of a book on the CIA, said Wilson has been an administration critic. Kessler also said he did not believe the investigation would determine who leaked Plame's CIA role.

    "Over the years, maybe one person has been uncovered by the FBI, and that was really a matter of luck," Kessler said.

    "And actually, the CIA reports roughly once a week compromises of classified information leaks to the Justice Department. They're required to do that. It just so happened that I understand the Democrats on the Hill leaked the fact that this report had been made about this particular situation."

    The furor began with a July 14 column by Novak, who had been trying to find out why the administration sent Wilson to Africa to investigate whether, as British intelligence reported, Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium there. Wilson concluded there was no evidence to prove the British intelligence.

    In the course of his news gathering, Novak has said, administration officials told him Wilson was sent at the suggestion of his wife, a CIA operative. Novak confirmed with the CIA that Wilson's wife was an employee there and printed her name despite the CIA's asking him not to do so. Novak said he was never told it would endanger her.

    Late Tuesday, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales issued a memo instructing White House staffers to preserve all documents, e-mails, telephone records and other items from February 1, 2002, to the present that involve Wilson, his trip and his wife's "purported relationship to the Central Intelligence Agency."

    Sources told CNN that as many as six journalists besides Novak may have been given the information on Plame.

    Sources also said Tuesday that Plame is not an analyst, as Novak said this week, but a CIA operations officer. For many years, the sources said, Plame was an active overseas undercover officer for the agency. More recently, she has been working at a management level within the operations section of the CIA.

    Penalties for revealing the identity of a covert agent range from five to 10 years in prison and fines from $25,000 to $50,000.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  • #2
    Is there any actual evidence that polygraphs actually work? I bet I could get just as accurate a reading by hooking up some lights to a subject and remotely activating them and looking surprised everytime I got an answer I didn't like.