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Bush admits administration officials leaked identity of CIA agent
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08:35, July 13, 2007

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U.S. President George W. Bush admitted publicly on Thursday that administration officials might have leaked the identity of a covert Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA) agent.

"I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person," Bush said at a news conference.

"I've often thought about what would have happened if that person had come forth and said, 'I did it.' Would we have had this endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter?" he said of the CIA leak case.

The leak case started in the summer of 2003, when the identity of Valerie Plame Wilson, then a secret CIA operative, was disclosed in a newspaper column, days after her husband, Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat, criticized the Bush administration for "twisting" intelligence to justify the Iraq war.

Wilson had said administration officials leaked Plame's identity to retaliate for his public criticism of the president's rationale for war.

The disclosure set off a chain of events that culminated in the appointment of special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald and a grand jury's indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, for lying to investigators about his own conversations with reporters regarding Plame.

"But, so, it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House. It's run its course and now we're going to move on," Bush said.

Bush had said early in the investigation that he would fire anyone in his administration if they would found to have disclosed the former agent's identity.

The president, however, spared Libby from serving a 30-months jail term early this month, arguing the sentence was too "harsh" for Libby.

Source: Xinhua

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