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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 20:06 GMT 21:06 UK
Will CIA disclosures harm President Bush?

The White House dismissed as "ridiculous" the suggestion that Karl Rove, senior adviser to President Bush, illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover Central Intelligence Agency officer.

Two White House officials are alleged to have illegally disclosed to journalists that Valerie Plame, the wife of former diplomat Joseph Wilson, was an agent for the CIA.

Mr. Wilson has accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the case for war against Saddam Hussein.

It is against the law for any official with access to classified information to disclose the identity of a covert American agent.

The White House has said it will co-operate with the Department of Justice by handing over telephone records and other information on request.

Is the Bush administration vulnerable on the issue that it exaggerated the threat from Iraq before the war? Will these allegations damage the reputation of the Bush White House? Tell us what you think.

This debate is now closed. A selection of your comments appear below.

Independent of political loyalties, I support GWB, the man and the president, and do not believe the allegations. That aside, the allegations will only hurt the president if he and his administration are not completely forthcoming and transparent during the investigation. At even the slightest hint of a cover up or the allegations prove to be true, obviously, he will no doubt become a one-term president.
Matt, US

The disclosures will definitely harm Pres. Bush. People in the US are wising-up. You can't tell tales for long without being found out. The truth will come out. It's about time.
S Barringer, USA

Each government was intent on suppressing any opposing voice no matter the cost
Richard, USA
It is now quite obvious that President Bush and PM Blair were intent on invading Iraq despite, not due, to well-validated intelligence. Likewise, each government was intent on suppressing any opposing voice no matter the cost.
Richard, USA

There is a lot of smoke and not much clarity about this incident. It seems to me the greater event here is the eruption of pent up emotions from those people who have been repeatedly stomped down by this administration. They smell blood, and the Bush Administration only has itself to blame. An incredibly stupid move to leak this info.
Dan Grotefend, Atlanta, GA, USA

This administration is starting to look more and more like a previous Republican administration. Including dirty tricks and using any means to attack any person who dares speak out against them. Take a good look, can you see the shadow of Richard Nixon in the background?
Bill Hart, USA

A lot of conservatives are claiming no scandal as there is a difference between a CIA agent and employee. They also claim this is some democratic conspiracy.
They miss two points - One: the CIA is the one making the allegation, not the Democratic Party. Two: the CIA, in making the allegation, surely understood the difference between agent and employee. They allege she's an agent.
Brian, USA

No it will not hurt Bush. The American media is simply an extension of the US Department of Defense, so there will be no pressure on Bush. Oh for a few good journalists with integrity and questioning minds, as there were during Nixon's time.
Carol, Jamaica

What needs to be mentioned is that Mr. Novak, who ran the article, asked the CIA if he could name her before the article, and they didn't object strongly, just said they 'preferred him not to.'
M. Gross, USA

There is a difference between 'CIA employee' and persons working under Non-Official Cover.
Edward, USA
For a little while until people realize that there is a difference between 'CIA employee,' and persons working under Non-Official Cover. The identities of the latter are protected by law, the former, whom wear badges that say 'Central Intelligence Agency,' are not. It will be interesting to see if the press is honest enough to present this rather important distinction.
Edward, USA

Robert Novak himself appeared on CNN's "Crossfire" last night where he explicitly denied that an administration official had been the one to leak the info. He also stated that the person who had leaked the info had told him that Wilson's wife was an "analyst", not a protected covert operative. But what do the facts matter?
Jeremy, Canada

Since the reporter says that the leaker wasn't a member of the Bush administration why should there be an investigation? Richard T. Ketchum, USA

Rumours like this emerge every four years, just before the election
Robbin, USA
Rumours like this emerge every four years, just before the election. From now until the election Democrats will be trying to dig up any dirt they can on the President Bush. The administration knows this. I find it hard to believe that anyone from the White House would give that type of information to a reporter, knowing full well that it would be discovered.
Robbin, USA

It's just another example of this administrations "You're either with us, or against us" mentality.
Stephen, New York, US

What's disturbing, other than the fact that administration officials are naming CIA operatives, is the willingness of reporters to publish this information. U.S. National Security is nothing to screw around with, especially in today's world. The leakers should be charged with treason.
Matt, US

George W. Bush's father called those who might leak such information, "the most insidious of traitors." The President's popularity is at an all time low, and criminal allegations will only hurt him further. Of course, Republicans will dismiss this as the Dems simply playing politics (while Clinton's personal life was of utmost importance to our union).
Shawn, Washington, DC, USA

You will soon see the air go out of this balloon.
Daniel Hilliard, USA
Novak has already stated that it wasn't Bush officials who told him, and as columnist Clifford D May has stated, it wasn't much of a secret anyways since he and others already knew her profession without being told by ANY administration officials. The Dems are trying to inflate this as an issue to use against Bush but you will soon see the air go out of this balloon.
Daniel Hilliard, Houston USA

It is a travesty of justice that there should be a call to investigate the leak of a name when there has been no charges brought on one of the greatest crimes imaginable, invading another county for its resources.
Denys Van Renen, USA

Interesting that both Britain and America should treat their public servants with such respect in order to justify war.
Jon E, France

This is simply another case of bad journalism.
Sam D., USA
I sincerely doubt that President Bush will be harmed by revelation of a CIA undercover agent. The media is the one to blame. This is simply another case of bad journalism. Reporters must decide which is more important; human life or self gain?
Sam D., USA

The Bush administration will remain invulnerable to criticism due to the fact that there is no one in this country that can call them to task. Ninety percent of the American population is numb from the shoulders up, if it has nothing to do with Ben and J-Lo they are not concerned. Besides, it is not like Bush had sex with an intern!
Bob Rossi, USA

At the moment we are simply seeing efforts of the Democrats to harm President Bush
Mirek Kondracki, USA
There is no evidence that any White House official has been involved in a leak. Second, Ambassador Wilson's wife was NOT a CIA clandestine operative, but merely an overt analyst, so the issue is moot. When more hard core data emerge - the whole thing will blow away. At the moment we are simply seeing efforts of the Democrats to harm President Bush as much as possible with next year's election in mind. I do not think it will work. It's the economy, stupid!
Mirek Kondracki, USA

On the CIA leak, if the Bush administration blocks any investigation then Bush himself will definitely be negatively affected (e.g. Watergate), otherwise, unless he himself was involved, there will be little negative affect if any. With regard to the war, most Americans were and are happy to see any attack against belligerent Arab states and groups after 9/11 and could care less about WMD etc. The real concern is what happens next?
John, USA

Revealing the identity of a CIA agent is tantamount to attempted murder - and I don't put it past the Bush administration to do such a thing. They are hoping that they can lie about this until it goes away, but I hope the Democrats pursue it with the same voracity that the Republicans tracked down Clinton. After all, what's more serious - having an affair, or attempted murder?
Robert, USA

I think that the reputation of the Bush Whitehouse was damaged before these allegations came to light
Brian, UK
I think that the reputation of the Bush Whitehouse was damaged before these allegations came to light. However this just shows how low the administration were prepared to go to silence critics of their policy in Iraq. If the allegations are true not only have the lives of CIA operatives been put at risk, but the operation Mrs Plame was involved in, identifying and tracking Chemical and Biological weapons trading within terrorist organisations has been jeopardised. So much for Bush's War on Terror.
Brian, UK

Yes, Bush Inc. is vulnerable. The American press is finally hardening its stance, and reporting on this administration with greater accuracy. This exposure is telling negatively in polls. Bush is in political trouble and his situation is worsening. The illegal disclosure of Plame's name and function will surely add a nail to Bush's coffin.
Tiger, USA

If the Bush junta does as much to evade the issue as the Blair govt has, it will suffer the same, or greater scrutiny than Blair. The American public may be subject to more media pressure and misinformation from government, lobbyists and other vested interests than we are in Europe, but once the truth gets out, they'll be as relentless to get to the bottom of the matter as anyone, and possibly more so.
Richard Blake-Reed, Bath, UK

Will it harm Bush? For the sake of America and the world at large, let's all hope it does. This man belongs in the Hague, anyone who disagrees is simply not paying attention!
David A Fuccillo, NYC, USA

Bush could be hurt if the finding come out against the White House. However, I think that this is really all politics. Joseph Wilson was a Clinton appointee who was opposed to the action in Iraq. The White House has been cooperative during the whole process. Added that it's been Joseph Wilson all over the TV networks, not any of the prominent Democrats.
Mike Daly, USA

I would like to rectify a few points made by Mr. Daly. His claim that Mr. Wilson was appointed to Iraq by former president Clinton is in error. In fact, Mr. Wilson was appointed as an ambassador by former President George H.W. Bush. Secondly, the claim Mr. Wilson stands alone in his call for an investigation is similarly erroneous. In fact, a number of prominent Democrats have been vociferous in demanding inquiry, including Mr. Daschle, Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Schumer, and others.
Brian Moore, USA

No this will not hurt President Bush because he has the media on his side. The media will give the story sufficient spin that comments will at best be innocuous.
Bill Couch, Poland

This may appear ridiculous to the White House, but then, Watergate looked like a third-rate burglary. Someone in government told reporter Bob Novak the name of a CIA agent (which is a felony). Mr. Novak, like any good American journalist, won't reveal the source while the allegations grow greater and more outrageous. This situation has all the indications of becoming a festering wound. And remember, this isn't adultery with an intern; this is national security.
Jeff Myhre, USA

This is Blair and Gilligan all over again. It will surely damage Bush as much as events here damaged Blair but it is nice to see the Americans copying us for a change and not the other way round.
David Howe, UK

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