Skip to comments.Bush, Atty Powwow Over CIA Leak (Outside Lawyer Consulted)
Posted on 06/02/2004 5:37:14 PM PDT by Happy2BMe
CBS) President Bush has consulted an outside lawyer in case he needs to retain him in the grand jury investigation of who leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year, the White House said Wednesday.
There was no indication that Bush is a target of the leak investigation, but the president has decided that in the event he needs an attorney's advice, "he would retain him," White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan said.
The lawyer is Jim Sharp, Buchan said, confirming a report by CBS Chief White House Correspondent John Roberts.
"The president has said that everyone should cooperate in this matter and that would include himself," the spokeswoman said.
She deflected questions about whether Bush had been asked to appear before a grand jury in the case.
In an exceptionally secretive process, Roberts reports, a federal grand jury has been hearing testimony since January from dozens of administration and government officials. The probe is aiming to pin down the source of the leak that identified Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson, as an undercover CIA agent.
Wilson charges that Plame's cover was blown as payback for his challenge to President Bush's claim in last year's State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein was actively shopping for uranium to build a bomb.
"Saddam Hussein has been trying to buy uranium from Africa," Mr. Bush said in the Jan. 28, 2003 address.
Wilson has pointed fingers at the Vice President's office -- and the President's political director Karl Rove -- in a recent book claiming Rove told a reporter that "Wilson's wife is fair game."
The Justice department assigned a special team of investigators to the case last fall. It demanded thousands of e-mails and other correspondence from the White House -- and has either interviewed or brought before the grand jury several high ranking officials.
Sources tell CBS News President Bush has retained Washington Attorney Jim Sharp to represent him in the Wilson case.
Mr. Bush has repeatedly stated that he has no tolerance for such leaks -- but he has expressed doubts the investigation will find ever find answers.
"I have no idea if we'll find out who the leaker is partially because your industry is good at protecting the leaker," he said in the past, referring to the media.
So far, no one is suggesting that President Bush had anything to do with the leak or even knew about it until it became public. But the fact that he has retained outside counsel in the event the grand jury comes calling has elevated this investigation to the highest levels.
Bush and the liberal media - ping.
We're discussing this matter over here: