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Chairwoman Slaughter on President Bush's Decision to Commute

July 2, 2007

Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter released the following statement in response to President Bush's commutation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby's prison sentence today:

“The President has claimed Mr. Libby’s sentence was excessive. But the only excessive actions taken were those of the Administration as it sought to exact retribution against a critic. As I learned personally from the testimony of former CIA agents, its actions were unconscionable.

“The case against Scooter Libby always involved much more than the fate of one man. By revealing Valerie Plame’s identity, the Administration endangered her life, the life of everyone in the field she had worked with, and America’s national security. This illegal action set back the work of our intelligence community immeasurably by breaking bonds of trust which take years to form. Two years is a paltry price to pay for the damage done to our nation, damage Mr. Libby made possible.

“With its decision, the Bush Administration has proven that to the very end, it is interested only in shielding its members from accountability rather than encouraging it, even when doing so comes at the direct expense of our nation’s security.”

On March 16th, 2007, Chairman Henry Waxman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s identity. Plame explained the costs to her, her career, and her colleagues:

Former covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame:
“All of my efforts on behalf of the national security of the United States, all of my training, all of the value of my years of service were abruptly ended when my name and identity were exposed irresponsibly.”