- WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The
former ambassador at the core of the White House leak controversy accused
the Bush administration on Sunday of blowing his wife's CIA cover to muzzle
criticism over the Iraq war and said they both now feared for her safety.
- Joseph Wilson, a seasoned diplomat in both Republican
and Democratic governments, said President Bush's top political aide Karl
Rove, while likely not the source of the leak, later "gave legs"
to a newspaper column that revealed his wife's identity as a CIA operative.
- "I do have a number of people, or a person in whom
I have a high degree of confidence, who has told me that Karl Rove told
him that my wife is 'fair game', and that was one week after the leak,"
Wilson told CBS's "Face The Nation."
- White House spokesman Scott McClellan last week denied
Rove was behind the disclosure of Valerie Plame's name. Revealing classified
information is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and
the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the alleged leak.
- Wilson said it now appeared his wife's name was leaked
by someone outside the White House, as an act of revenge to stop him and
others from questioning the intelligence used to go to war with Iraq.
- "This administration apparently decided the way
to do that was to leak the name of my wife," he told NBC's "Meet
- Wilson had questioned the president's State of the Union
address in which Bush said Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Africa.
Wilson went to Niger early in 2002 at the CIA's request to assess the uranium
claim and said it was very doubtful.
- Wilson said he and his wife, a specialist in unconventional
weapons who worked overseas, were increasingly concerned she might be a
target due to the disclosure and "as a consequence of that, have begun
to rethink our own security posture."
- The U.S. government had not offered any security measures,
said Wilson, adding that a leading former CIA official had said his wife
"was probably the single highest target of any possible terrorist
organization or hostile intelligence service that might want to do damage."
- CAREER "OVER" AS CIA OPERATIVE
- The New York Times reported on Sunday Plame had "non-official
cover," what the CIA calls a "Noc," the most difficult kind
of false identity for the agency to create, often involving especially
- Plame passed herself off as a private energy expert,
working for a company that has been identified as Brewster Jennings and
Associates, believed to be a CIA front company.
- Jim Marcinkowski, an ex-CIA officer who called Plame
the best shot in their class with an AK-47 rifle, told Time magazine her
career as an undercover operative was over.
- "She will no longer be safe traveling overseas,"
said Marcinkowski, who trained with Plame at Camp Peary, the Virginia school
for CIA recruits. "I liken that to the knee-capping of an athlete."
- With pressure mounting for answers over the leak, Sen.
Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, said it was up to the president to
get to the bottom of the story.
- "The president should be asking some pretty tough
questions, if he's not already," Hagel said on CBS. "My guess
is that he is asking some tough questions. He needs to get a hold of this
himself, call his chief of staff in, his national security adviser, the
vice president and say 'OK, what do we have here? This is serious, I want
- Wilson's wife's cover was blown in mid-July by syndicated
columnist Robert Novak, who reiterated on Sunday he would not reveal his
source for the story.
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