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Commentary :: Environment
BTL:Despite Ashcroft's Recusal from CIA Leak Case...
08 Jan 2004
Modified: 04:35:43 AM
...White House Still Refuses to Appoint Independent Counsel. Interview with Ray McGovern, retired CIA analyst, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Despite Ashcroft's Recusal from CIA Leak Case, White House Still Refuses to Appoint Independent Counsel

Interview with Ray McGovern, retired CIA analyst, conducted by Scott Harris

As 2003 came to a close, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he would recuse himself from the Justice Department's investigation into an alleged White House leak that blew the cover of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson believes that the leak was intended to punish his public refutation of President Bush's claim that Iraq was seeking uranium in the African nation of Niger for a nuclear weapons program. The White House had sent Wilson to Africa in 2002 to investigate the matter but ignored his findings. President Bush repeated the charge in his January State of the Union speech using it as a key justification for war.

Ashcroft has appointed U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to lead the investigation and report to his deputy James Comey. But Ashcroft's recusal comes months after critics called for his departure from the case and falls short of demands that a truly independent special counsel take charge. The stakes are enormously high for President Bush who is running for re-election, given the damage which could result from any indictments charging White House aids with involvement in a serious political crime.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with retired 27-year veteran CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who discusses Attorney General Ashcroft's decision to recuse himself from the case and suspicions that the Bush administration may be trying to run out the clock in an effort to suppress any "bad news" until after this November's presidential election.

McGovern, until his retirement in 1990, led one of two CIA teams conducting the most secret daily intelligence briefings at the White House. His recent article, "Don't Be Fooled: Still No Independent Investigation of Leak of CIA Identity," can be read online at

Related links:

"President Wavers on Pledge to Find Leaker," The Daily Mislead,, Jan. 6, 2004

"Senator Urges White House on Leak Probe," The Associated Press, Jan. 6, 2004

"Ashcroft Recuses Self From CIA Leak Probe," Associated Press, Dec. 30, 2003

"Leaks Probe Is Gaining Momentum," Washington Post, Dec. 26, 2003

"Case Yields Chilling Signs of Domestic Terror Plot,"Arms cache in Texas leads to convictions but few answers. Critics fault focus on foreign threats, but where was Ashcroft? by Scott Gold, Los Angeles Times, Jan. 7, 2004

"'Attorney General Nominee John Ashcroft Too Extreme for Missouri, Too Extreme for the Country,'" Between The Lines interview with John Hickey, the executive director of the Missouri Citizen Education Fund, conducted by Denise Manzari, week ending Feb. 2, 2002

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
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©2004 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.

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