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Libby not only one who should take fall for leak

Nov. 2, 2005

EDITORIAL STAFF

Scandals are nothing new to the United States government, and individual resignations are often called for to appease the public.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby resigned Friday from his position as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff after being charged by a grand jury with five felonies alleging obstruction of justice, perjury to a grand jury and making false statements to FBI agents.

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Ben Humeniuk | Lariat staff
The charges result from a 22-month investigation on the leaked identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Libby and top White House aide Karl Rove were both named by reporters brought before the grand jury, but it was unclear whether Rover or Libby knew Plame was a covert agent. Rove has not been charged, but is still under investigation in the case.

Libby's resignation was a good decision. We should be able to expect honesty from our leaders. We should be able to trust them.

It's a good move because Libby can't perform up to the standards of the American people while defending himself against felony charges, which could mean possible fines and jail time.

Nevertheless, Libby likely isn't the only one responsible for leaking the information and compromising Plame's cover. Prosecutors in the case identified several individuals who knew of the agent's identity and gave Libby the information. The people who passed along the confidential information ought to be pursued just as vigorously.

The American public should see this case pursued to the end and not be satisfied by bringing down one individual, when more might be responsible. Our system of democracy only really works if the people hold their leaders responsible for their actions.

The Bush administration has to stay the course in the case and aid the investigation as much as possible, even if that means implicating some of its own members.

Passing along secret information is not a new concept in American government. But secrecy and a lack of openness never do anything but cause people to wonder what the administration is hiding.

The only road for Bush to take is the transparent, honest one.