Bush orders document disclosure

The White House has given all staff four days to turn over any materials tied to the leak of a covert CIA agent's identity.

    Scott McClennan has rejected calls for an independent inquiry

    Investigators planned on Friday to begin interviewing officials in

    President George Bush's administration in the coming days

    .

    Separately, the State Department and Defence Department also

    confirmed they have been directed to preserve records linked to the

    widening probe into the disclosure.

    At issue is who told a reporter that former ambassador Joseph

    Wilson's wife was a CIA agent,

    after the diplomat charged publicly that the

    case for war with Iraq was exaggerated.

    Investigation

    Opposition Democrats have called for congressional hearings and

    an independent investigation - appeals which Bush aides have categorically

    rejected

    .

    "The president has directed everyone to cooperate fully with the

    Department of Justice. We want to get to the bottom of this, the

    sooner the better," presidential spokesman Scott McClellan said.

     

    Presidential advisor Karl Rove
    has been linked to the leak 

    The journalist who published the leak, Robert Novak, identified

    "two senior administration officials" as his sources.

    Wilson has

    linked Bush's political guru, Karl Rove, to the leak.

    McClellan has

    called that "ridiculous".

    CIA agent 

    White House aides have until 21:00 GMT on Tuesday to hand

    over copies of any relevant materials, including emails, telephone

    logs and notes

    .

    The Justice Department's latest demand follows a directive for

    all White House staff to safeguard materials linked to the leak of

    Valerie Plame's identity and her ties to the Central Intelligence

    Agency. 

    The request seeks all documents tied to Wilson's February 2002

    trip to Niger, where he discredited the charge Saddam Hussein

    sought uranium from the African nation, as well as materials about

    Plame's CIA activities.

    A Washington Post/ABC News poll published on Thursday found that 69%

    of those surveyed believed an independent probe was needed,

    compared with only 29% who would leave it to Attorney General

    John Ashcroft.

    SOURCE: AFP


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