Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tuesday 1 November 2005

With Damage Already Done, Wilson Fears New Cheney Staff

Says Rove Should Be Fired and Options Open On Suing VP and Libby

Ignoring the calls for a house-cleaning, Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday named two loyal and longtime aides to replace the indicted former Chief of Staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter" Libby.

The Vice President's office said that David S. Addington, formerly Cheney's counsel, would be the new Chief of Staff and, John P. Hannah would become Cheney's new Assistant for National Security. Hannah had been the prinicipal Deputy Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs. Both of these positions had been formerly held by Libby.

Former ambassador, Joseph C. Wilson IV, whose wife Valerie Wilson (nee Plame) was the CIA Agent outed by Libby, Rove and other members of the Bush Administration, indicated he was very "uncomfortable" with the new Cheney staff appointments.

"This is the guy [Addington} that is in favor of torture," said a shaken Wilson.

Addington has aggressively represented the vice president's views throughout the administration, especially on national security issues, and has been a strong advocate of presidential power. Addington has favored the president's power to detain terrorism suspects and to use interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture.

"This is one of the guys who wrote the book. They've already ruined my wife's life. What happens next - they deem me an enemy combatant and it's lights out."

Last year, Addington worked closely with the vice president in drafting compromise language to make clear that the new national intelligence director could not interfere in the military chain of command. He has also backed the administration's efforts to conduct much of its business behind closed doors, taking a role in the fight over whether Mr. Cheney's energy task force would have to release information about its meetings.

"I've called for a thorough house-cleaning in the vice president's office," said Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), "but what they've done is just rearrange some office furniture.

Appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room" with Wolf Blitzer, Wilson, when asked by Blitzer, confirmed that he and his wife have received threats.

"I won't go into specific threats," said Wilson. "I'll tell you that there have been threats. And as a consequence, we've been working closely with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. We've changed our phone number and taken other security measures."

Blitzer asked Wilson if he was "disappointed" that no one was charged with outing his wife as an undercover CIA agent.

"Well, I think it's important to remember two things. One, he was unable to indict on anything other than the charges because, as he said, his investigation into this was impeded by the obstruction of justice and perjury. And two, as he said, the state's interests were vindicated by the indictments that were handed down. And three, finally, this is not a crime against Joe Wilson or Valerie Wilson, it's a crime against the country, against the national security of the country."

Later, Wilson added that "Karl Rove should be fired".

"I think that this idea that you can, with impunity, call journalists and leak national security information is repugnant."

Wilson would neither confirm or deny that he may file civil lawsuits against Libby, Cheney, and possible others.

"We're keeping all of our options open. There's a very complicated procedure for this, even though the case itself is relatively simple. And we have not come to any decision yet."

Addington and Vice President Cheney declined commenting on Wilson's remarks but did hint that a new file on the Wilson was being opened by the office.

Asked if there were any regrets, a spokesperson for the Vice President's office said "No".

"Next time, we may consider outsourcing the leaks."

Vice President Cheney is reported to hold, for his staff, weekly, "torture stories" in the Vice President's office, often over pizza and beer.

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