Obama administration sides with Bush officials against outed CIA agent


Published: May 21, 2009

The Obama administration has decided to oppose the reinstatement of a civil lawsuit filed by outed CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson.

The move represents the first public position by the administration on the issue. Obama’s position mirrors that of President George W. Bush, whose aides found themselves in the cross-fire after the agent, Plame Wilson, was outed by conservative columnist Robert Novak.

A Washington, D.C. district court dismissed the suit — Wilson v. Libby et al. — which posited that key Bush and Cheney officials violated the constitutional rights of Plame and her husband, a former ambassador. Those sued included former Vice President Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage for their gross violations of the Wilsons’ constitutional rights, as well as “Scooter” Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff who was convicted of obstruction of justice in the case.

Obama’s Justice Department says the Wilsons have no legitimate claim to sue. They also put forward another startling claim.

“The Obama administration has gone one step further, suggesting Mr. Wilson failed to provide any evidence that Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rove or Mr. Libby harmed him,” Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility reported on their blog Wednesday. “This is particularly ironic because the government had moved to have the case dismissed before the Wilsons had the opportunity to uncover the details of how Ms. Wilson’s covert identity was revealed.

In a statement, the group’s director said they were “deeply disappointed.”

“We are deeply disappointed that the Obama administration has failed to recognize the grievous harm top Bush White House officials inflicted on Joe and Valerie Wilson,” CREW chief Melanie Sloan said. “The government’s position cannot be reconciled with President Obama’s oft-stated commitment to once again make government officials accountable for their actions.”