Senate Democrats

Democratic Leaders to Bush: You Must Remove Cloud Hanging Over Your Presidency

Washington, D.C. - Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi sent the following letter to President Bush today, calling on him to apologize for the actions of senior officials in leaking classified information, fire anyone involved in the leak case, and support full congressional investigations into the matter so that all the facts will be known.

The text of the letter follows:

November 2, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Bush:

We write to you today during an extremely serious time in our nation’s history. For the first time in 130 years, a senior member of the White House staff has been indicted and the special prosecutor’s investigation of the role of White House staff continues. In addition, yesterday the Senate had to resort to extraordinary means in order to force the completion of an investigation focused on whether your Administration politicized pre-war intelligence.

As the Democratic leaders in the Congress, we want to find common ground and work with you to address the American people’s priorities. With three years remaining in your term, we believe it is imperative that you move quickly to remove the cloud that hangs over your presidency. There are several actions we hope you will take today to allow us to return to the people’s business.

We strongly believe that you should apologize to the American people for the actions of senior members of your Administration. In your first year in office, you said:

“We must always maintain the highest ethical standards. We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right. There is no goal of government worth accomplishing if it cannot be accomplished with integrity.”

Your words were just right, but it concerns us that you have lost sight of this goal. Instead of striving to meet this standard, your Administration has refused to answer questions and your press secretary has repeatedly made categorically false statements. As a result, the White House has failed to speak plainly with the American people.

When this controversy began more than two years ago, you pledged that anyone involved in the leaking of classified information would no longer serve in your Administration. It is now clear that there were multiple disclosures of classified information involving the identity of the CIA officer, yet only Lewis Libby has left your Administration.

We believe that you should honor your promise to the American people and fire all of those who treated the officer’s identity with such reckless disregard for the consequences. It is totally unacceptable that anyone involved in the unauthorized disclosure of the identity of a CIA officer, including your Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, should remain employed at the White House with a security clearance.

The serious charges in the indictment against Mr. Libby raise a number of questions to which the American people are entitled to have answers. Among these questions are the extent of Vice President Cheney’s role in disclosing the identity of the CIA operative, and the degree of knowledge that you and the Vice President had of efforts by members of your senior staff to make the officer’s identity public.

We believe that it is in the best interest of the nation for the facts on this matter to be brought fully before the American people. We urge you and Vice President Cheney to support full congressional investigations and to make yourselves available to respond to questions on these matters.

The next three years will bring extraordinary challenges to our nation as we continue to confront the threats of terrorists, seek to recover from the worst natural disaster our nation has ever seen, and work to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil so that American consumers enjoy some relief from record prices at the pump. We urge you to focus on the priorities of the American people and take the necessary steps for us to come together to get that work done.

Thank you for your attention to this serious issue.

Sincerely,

HARRY REID – Senate Democratic Leader NANCY PELOSI – House Democratic Leader

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