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Ex-CIA Officers Rip Bush Over Rove Leak


By DONNA DE LA CRUZ
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — President Bush is jeopardizing national security by not disciplining Karl Rove for his role in leaking the name of a CIA officer, and has hampered efforts to recruit informants in the war on terror, former U.S. intelligence officers say.

Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson used the Democratic Party's weekly radio address Saturday to reiterate comments he made Friday to a panel of House and Senate Democrats.

At that event, Johnson and others expressed great frustration that CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was made public. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of Bush's Iraq policy.

"Instead of a president concerned first and foremost with protecting this country and the intelligence officers who serve it, we are confronted with a president who is willing to sit by while political operatives savage the reputations of good Americans like Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson," Johnson said in the radio address.

Johnson, who said he was a registered Republican, said Bush has gone back on his promise to fire anyone at the White House implicated in a leak.

Federal law forbids government officials from revealing the identity of an undercover intelligence officer.

Rove, Bush's deputy chief of staff, told Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in a 2003 phone call that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA on weapons of mass destruction issues, according to an account by Cooper in the magazine.

Rove has not disputed that he told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked for the agency, but has said through his lawyer that he did not mention her by name.

In July 2003, Robert Novak, citing unnamed administration officials, identified Plame by name in his syndicated column and wrote that she worked for the CIA. The column has led to a federal criminal investigation into who leaked Plame's undercover identity. New York Times reporter Judith Miller -- who never wrote a story about Plame -- has been jailed for refusing to testify.

Bush said last week, "I think it's best that people wait until the investigation is complete before you jump to conclusions. And I will do so, as well."

Dana Perino, a White House spokesman, said Friday that the administration would have no comment on the investigation while it was continuing.

Johnson said he wished a Republican lawmaker would have the courage to stand up and "call the ugly dog the ugly dog."

"Where are these men and women with any integrity to speak out against this?" he asked. "I expect better behavior out of Republicans."

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