Indictment leads White House to give crash course on ethics


Nation Digest

November 09, 2005|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

WASHINGTON -- It's back-to-school week at the White House, starting with briefings on the proper handling of classified information for all the president's people with security clearances.

The private, hourlong seminars in ethics, ordered by President Bush, are a direct result of a two-year investigation of the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity.

"The president takes the issue of the handling of classified information very seriously," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said yesterday, as the closed-door tutoring was getting under way.

The crash course in ethics apparently is the first concrete step the White House has taken since the Oct. 28 indictment of a senior member of the Bush administration, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. Libby was charged with obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements during a special prosecutor's inquiry into who revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame in 2003.

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