Viewpoint: Ashcroft-Rove closely linked

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has flatly refused to name an independent prosecutor to find out who in the White House leaked the name of long-time CIA officer Valerie Plame, wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson. This despite 69 percent of Americans, according to a recent poll, believe he should do exactly that. Ashcroft’s refusal is no surprise to administration insiders who know that Ashcroft is tightly tied to Karl Rove, the president’s political guru and main suspect in scandal. James Moore, author of Bush’s Brain; How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, said: “I think it’s very difficult on its surface for John Ashcroft to be taken seriously as an investigator. In this case, there is a close relationship between someone who is a high profile suspect and the individual who is leading the investigation of him. And it immediately goes to the question of credibility and validity of that particular investigation.” Moore made the comment during an interview on Democracy Now, an independent daily radio news broadcast aired on more than 140 stations across North America. Rove has been accused of leaking Plame’s name in retaliation for her husband’s negative statements on the Bush administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein tried to import uranium from Niger to make nuclear weapons. Rove is recognized as the chief force behind Bush’s drive for the White House, but, Democracy Now reports, he also worked for Ashcroft for 20 years. “It goes all the way back to the mid-1980s when John Ashcroft first ran for governor (of Missouri) and then when he ran for the United States Senate against Mel Carnahan,” Moore said. Rove was a prime mover behind Ashcroft’s appointment as attorney general. He lobbied intensely for Ashcroft after the former governor lost to Carnahan, who had earlier been killed in a plane crash. Ashcroft was not Bush’s first choice for attorney general, but Rove reportedly told him the nomination was “a no-lose proposition.” Rove cashed in on his involvement to get a new stadium built in St. Louis. The legislation was signed by—guess who—John Ashcroft. The White House is being inundated with calls about the disclosure of the CIA officer’s identity. “It is impossible for any of us to believe that this happened without Karl knowing about it,” Moore said. “When you cross this man in the political arena, he gets even, and he gets even in a way that he doesn’t just defeat you, he is compelled to destroy you. He doesn’t know how to do a measured response when he is angry, and so he leaks information about people that destroys them.” So far, Ashcroft has held only one news conference on this matter. He refused to budge on relinquishing control of the investigation. “The prosecutors and agents who are and will be handling this investigation are career professionals with extensive experience in handling matters involving sensitive national security information and with experience relating to investigations of unauthorized disclosures of such information,” Ashcroft said. When a reporter tried to question Ashcroft further about this, he interrupted the reporter and asked: “Are there other questions today?” There certainly are, and most Americans think a special prosecutor should be asking them.

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