Calls For Honor and Integrity in Investigation of Plame Affair

Los Angeles, CA, September 30, 2003

LOS ANGELES—Democratic presidential candidate Governor Howard Dean, M.D., issued the following statement today following Attorney General's announcement that the Justice Department has opened a full investigation into whether senior administration officials illegally disclosed the identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, a CIA operative:

“Because Attorney General Ashcroft failed to appoint a special counsel, I fear that the investigation into this breach of national security will not be carried out free from political influence.

“This is a matter of critical importance to our national security and its seriousness cannot be overstated. As former President George Bush said, those who expose the names of intelligence sources are 'the most insidious of traitors.' And so I ask the following today:

“This story broke fully two months ago. Why did the President – who came into office vowing to bring honor and integrity to the White House – not demand answers from his staff at that time?

“We know now that the CIA asked the Justice Department to investigate this matter at the end of July. When did President Bush know about the CIA request and why did Mr. Ashcroft delay in opening the investigation?

“If Mr. Ashcroft yesterday evening requested that the White House and the CIA preserve all documents that might be relevant to this investigation, why did White House counsel Al Gonzalez wait until today to email White House staff and instruct them to do so?

“The failure to name special counsel taints this investigation from the outset. Why did Mr. Ashcroft refuse to explain his decision not to do so?

“Whether it is a special counsel or the Justice Department Inspector General, I once again call for the selection of a person whose honesty, objectivity, and fairness are guaranteed to investigate the Plame affair. The American people deserve no less.

“As President, I will deliver to the American people the honor, integrity, and leadership that President Bush promised, but has utterly failed to deliver.”

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