Both President George W Bush and vice president Richard (Dick) Cheney have been named in two separate court claims during the week ending 14 July 2006.
The law offices of Hamid Rifai in Clifton, NJ, filed a notice of claim against President George W Bush for a $30 million wrongful death action on behalf of Dima Tahboub, the widow of slain journalist Tareq Ayyoub. The lawsuit names President Bush "in his capacity as president of the United States and commander in chief of the armed forces."
Separately, in a complex case involving 13 defendants, former CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, filed a civil lawsuit against vice president Cheney and President Bush's adviser Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, accusing them of violating their First and Fifth Amendment (constitutional) rights.
But first, on 12 July, Rifai filed notice of wrongful death claim on behalf of Tahboub, 38, and claims that Ayyoub was intentionally killed 8 April 2003 when the United States bombed the Baghdad offices of the Al Jazeera news network. Tahboub resides in Manchester, UK, and is steadfast in thought that the United States intentionally caused the death of her husband when it was revealed in November 2005 that President Bush had told Prime Minister Tony Blair it was a strategic move to bomb Al Jazeera.
Ayyoub was the first journalist to be killed in Iraq after the United States invaded the country in March 2003.
The case is unlikely to gain much traction, because in October 2001 President Bush signed executive orders absolving him personally of any liabilities in the name of fighting terrorism, which included future activities or any (current or future) international war tribunal. However that does not worry Rifai, who contends that if President Bush does not respond to the notice of claim that they will file a full lawsuit to which entitles the case to the discovery and investigative processes protected by law.
Plame and Wilson vs. Cheney, Rove, Libby
Attorneys Christopher Wolf, Charles Sims, and Mark Harris argue that their clients, Plame and Wilson, are entitled to compensatory damages for violation of constitutional law, exemplary and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs, and all other relief as may be just and proper for a so requested trial by jury.
The plaintiffs open their claim by quoting former President George HW Bush from April 1999 when he said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our (CIA) sources." Former President Bush called anyone who leaked CIA operative information "traitors" to the United States government.
Ten additional defendants (John Does) are named in the lawsuit which lists eight causes of action against Cheney, Rove, and Libby. Rather than take issue with claims made by Plame's husband Wilson as employer-employee, attorneys argue that Cheney and others used the media to leak Plame's name to the public rendering her security at the CIA worthless.
Further, after leaking Plame's name the White House administration admitted to fault by claiming there was indeed no link between uranium from Africa and Iraq as earlier stated by President George W Bush during his state of the union address in January 2003, so as Wilson had originally claimed.
Even though Libby had been indicted and faces trial in a separate federal case, he was quickly re-employed, after leaving the White House in October 2005, by the Hudson Institute as a senior advisor. However the Hudson Institute is immune from all causes of action in this case.
Ten John Does are "persons whose identities currently are unknown but who are believed to be persons who were either employed by the United States government in senior positions at all times relevant to this complaint or who were political operatives with close ties to such persons."
Exactly three years ago this day of publication, 14 July 2003, opinion writer Robert Novak reported in his column that "Valerie Plame is an agency [CIA] operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior [White House] administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger" to investigate whether or not Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.
On 30 July 2003 the CIA determined that there was a violation of criminal law concerning the unauthorized disclosure of Plame's name to the press and the case was turned over to the Department of Justice. President George W Bush said in a statement that he wanted to know who leaked Plame's identity. On 30 December 2003 then attorney general John Ashcroft recused himself from the investigation and it was then that Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed to handle the case, which charged Libby in October 2005.
Plame, acting as operations manager for the CIA, authorized Wilson's trip to Niger after which the CIA concluded that there was no link between Iraq and Niger as the White House had contended. In early June 2003 the CIA faxed classified documents to Cheney's office stating the results of the investigation; however, the CIA as is normal process, did not name Wilson or Plame by name in the documents.
Libby, upon receiving the faxes handwrote Wilson and Joe Wilson on the copies. On 14 June 2003 Libby met with a CIA operative --who has not been named-- and expressed his personal dissatisfaction with how the CIA intelligence found countered claims the White House made regarding uranium shipments between Niger and Iraq.
On 23 June 2003 Libby met with Judith Miller, former staff writer of The New York Times, and claimed the CIA was selectively leaking intelligence and told Miller that Wilson's wife might work for the CIA. Two weeks later, Wilson's article titled "What I did Not Find in Africa" was published in The New York Times. The publication of his views started a firestorm of media inquiries into the White House to which all defendants named met regularly in order to sync up a planned response.
Libby spoke with Miller about the case twice more, but it was on 12 July 2003 during a telephone conversation with Miller that Libby told her Wilson's wife worked at the CIA.
Libby was charged on 28 October 2005 with obstruction of justice, perjury, and making false statements to federal investigators regarding leaks to reporters.
During July 2003, Rove indirectly told Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper that Plame worked "at the agency" and in "WMD" (weapons of mass destruction) to which Cooper defined as the CIA.
As pundits tossed possible leaks, Wilson's findings, and Plame's name throughout the circuit, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said he personally met with Libby, Rove, and Cheney and confirmed that none of the men were involved in the CIA leak.
Plaintiff attorneys argue that by leaking Wilson's wife's name to "selected" journalists, the White House indirectly punished Wilson for having found no links between Niger and Iraq.
Wilson and Plame have "suffered gross invasions of privacy," and they fear for the personal safety of their children. Both defendants have been permanently impaired to carry out their duties in pursing service to the United States, and state that their future professional careers may too have been impaired beyond recovery due to the actions of Libby, Rove, and Cheney.
Causes of Action against Cheney, Libby, Rove
As of press time a hearing date had not been set.
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