News and events revolving around the ousting of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Friday, November 04, 2005 House Democrats Question Rove's Security Clearance

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Four senior House Democrats sent a letter to the White House to ask if presidential aide Karl Rove is still eligible for a security clearance.

Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, has been informed by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald that he is in serious legal jeopardy. Fitzgerald has been investigating who revealed the name of Central Intelligence Agency operative Valerie Plame to reporters in July 2003 after her husband publicly criticized the Iraq war.

Democratic Representatives John Dingell of Michigan, David Obey of Wisconsin, John Murtha of Pennsylvania and Ike Skelton of Missouri today wrote to Mark Frownfelter, associate director of the White House's Security Division, saying the Plame investigation ``raised questions about the maintenance of a security clearance by Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove.''

The Democrats based their question on two clauses in the guidelines for security clearance for the executive office. One of the clauses bars people who have exhibited conduct ``involving questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations.''

The second clause states that any ``allegations or admissions of criminal conduct, regardless of whether the person was formally charged'' could be grounds for an employee to loose security clearance.

White House spokesman Trent Duffy declined to comment on the letter.

Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was charged Oct. 28 with five counts in connection with the case, including perjury and obstruction of justice. Libby, who stepped down last month, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment yesterday.

Niger Trip

Plame, 42, was a covert CIA operative whose husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was dispatched by the agency in 2002 to Niger to investigate reports that Iraq was seeking uranium ``yellowcake'' for a nuclear program. Plame suggested Wilson for the trip because of his contacts with African leaders and past experience on the continent, according to government documents.

Wilson said he told the CIA he didn't find the reports credible. After Bush cited Iraqi attempts to gain nuclear materials in Africa in his 2003 State of the Union speech, and the U.S. invaded Iraq in March of that year, Wilson became increasingly critical of administration policy.


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