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IN THE NEWS - October 11, 2003: Investigation of Intelligence Leak - 2003-10-11

This is In the News, from VOA Special English.

Officials are investigating who in the Bush administration identified an American intelligence agent to a news reporter. The Justice Department launched the investigation. The department acted at the request of the director of Central Intelligence, George Tenet.

The agent is the wife of a former American ambassador, Joseph Wilson. Mister Wilson once served as acting ambassador in Baghdad. He has criticized the administration’s case for war in Iraq. He says the identification of his wife as a C-I-A officer was punishment for his dissent.

In February two-thousand-two, the Central Intelligence Agency sent Joseph Wilson to Niger. He went to investigate a British intelligence report that Iraqi officials were trying to buy uranium in Africa for use in nuclear weapons.

Mister Wilson says he found nothing to confirm the claim. He said he was surprised when President Bush spoke of the British report in his State of the Union speech this past January. The president included it as part of the argument for war to prevent Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction.

In July, Mister Wilson disputed the claim. Administration officials later said the decision to include the sentence in the State of the Union speech was a mistake.

Then, one week later, reporter and political commentator Robert Novak published the name of Mister Wilson's wife. Mister Novak said two high-level administration officials had identified her as working for the C-I-A. He has refused to identify the officials.

Mister Wilson has accused Karl Rove of urging reporters to spread the story once his wife's identity was released. Mister Rove is the president's top political adviser. This week, Democratic Congressman John Conyers urged Mister Rove to resign. A White House spokesman said Mister Rove denies any involvement.

The spokesman said he had also asked two other officials about the case and they too said they had not been involved. The others were the vice president's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, and Elliot Abrams, an official of the National Security Council.

White House employees were told to provide e-mail records and other materials that might be used in the investigation.

Democratic and Republican members of Congress welcomed the Justice Department investigation into the leak of secret information. But some Democratic senators want an independent investigator. They say the Justice Department is too closely linked to the administration to be fair.

President Bush said this week that he has told White House officials to cooperate fully with the investigation. He said he wants to know the truth. But he also said he has no idea whether the person who leaked the information will ever be found.

In the News, from VOA Special English, was written by Cynthia Kirk. This is _________.