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Friday, August 06, 2004

Inquiries for Thee, But Not for Me 

We are awfully fond of Rep. Henry Waxman [D-CA] because he somehow manages to hold high public office despite thinking more or less as we do:
A top House Democrat called on Attorney General John Ashcroft on Friday to explain why the Justice Department was letting federal officials cooperate in a Congressional inquiry into the case of Samuel R. Berger despite a current criminal investigation.

The representative, Henry A. Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, said the department position regarding Mr. Berger, a national security adviser to President Bill Clinton accused of mishandling classified documents, was at odds with how inquiries tied to the Bush administration had been handled.

"For example, in the investigation into the leak of the identity of covert C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame, officials have said repeatedly that they cannot comment because the matter is currently under investigation," Mr. Waxman wrote. He said the policy was "intended to maintain the integrity of the investigation and protect the individuals involved" . . . .

Mr. [Tom] Davis's [R-VA] determination to investigate the Berger case has created a dispute with Mr. Waxman and other Democrats. They accuse the chairman and the House Republican leadership of applying a double standard since they have rejected Democrats' calls to look into the disclosure of Ms. Plame's identity and other matters related to Iraq . . . .

Mr. Waxman said archives officials were scheduled to be questioned by House investigators on Wednesday and had been told they were "in no way constrained" from talking about the details with lawmakers or their aides. Mr. Waxman asked Mr. Ashcroft to explain why the prosecutors were overruled and whether he would "similarly 'clear' " officials to discuss other cases, like Ms. Plame's.

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