After the latest in a series of blows, George W. Bush has faced the media, reacting to a scandal that goes right to the heart of the White House.His vice president’s top aide has been indicted on five counts including perjury following a probe into the leak of an undercover CIA agent’s identity.
“Special Counsel Fitzgerald’s investigation and ongoing legal proceedings are serious and now the proceedings – the process – moves into a new phase,” said the US president, speaking on the White House South Lawn.“In our system, each individual is presumed innocent and entitled to due process and a fair trial.” Facing up to 30 years behind bars if convicted, Lewis Libby has now resigned as Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff. Valerie Plame is the CIA agent whose cover was blown. It happened after her husband, diplomat Joseph Wilson, accused the Bush adminstration of twisting pre-war intelligence to support the case for military action against Iraq. Wilson said the leak was a deliberate effort to erode his credibility. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is all too aware that his enquiry is under the global spotlight. “When a vice president’s chief of staff is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, it does show the world that this is a country that takes its law seriously, that all citizens are bound by the law,” he said in a press conference. “But what we need to also show the world is that we can also apply the same safeguards to all of our citizens, including high officials.” The only silver lining for George W. Bush is that his own chief political advisor Karl Rove has not been indicted, at least for now. Lawyers say however that he remains under investigation.