(1st Add: Includes comments from Rep. Jerrold Nadler.)
(CNSNews.com) - Democrats seized on news Friday that Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted on five counts in the Valerie Plame case, with some accusing the Bush administration of conspiring to lie to the American people about the war in Iraq.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) called the indictment "evidence of White House corruption at the very highest levels far from the 'honor and dignity' the president pledged to restore to Washington just five years ago."
"The criminal indictments of a top White House official mark a sad day for America and another chapter in the Republicans' culture of corruption," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a statement.
"At the heart of these indictments was the effort by the Bush Administration to discredit critics of its Iraq policy with reckless disregard for national security and the public trust," said Pelosi.
"They suggest that a senior White House aide put politics ahead of our national security and the rule of law," the Associated Press quoted Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as saying of the charges against Libby.
"It appears to be a case of revenge run amok," the AP quoted Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as saying on allegations that the CIA leak was an effort to undermine a critic of the Iraq war.
"Today's indictments represent the beginning, but not the end, of the process of finally holding the Bush administration accountable for its conduct in foisting a pre-emptive war on this country," the AP quoted Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, as saying.
"Today's events only confirm that we need to know answers to the larger question: Did this administration deliberately lie to Congress in order to obtain its authorization to go to war?" the AP quoted Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) as saying.
"It goes right to the vice president, as I see it. [Libby is] the chief arm and leg of the vice president," said Mike Gravel, former U.S. senator from Alaska, who entered the Pentagon Papers in the Congressional Record, and president of Direct Democracy, a group that claims to "promote education and understanding of democracy.
"It's just the tip of the iceberg of the cover up of how the United States was persuaded to go to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not a threat to the people of the United States. A lot of other people are on the radar screen of investigators, and now their chasing leads and they realize that this is just not a minor league - this is very serious," Gravel told Cybercast News Service.
Gravel predicted the vice president, President Bush, and his chief of staff Karl Rove could be in trouble as the investigation continues.
"People will start speaking more honestly to investigators. And as a result of these investigations, I'm sure this will implicate Cheney directly, and implicate Karl Rove, and more than likely, the president of the United States," said Gravel.
"This is much more serious [than Pentagon Papers]. What we are talking about here is actually a conspiracy of elements of the Bush administration to hoodwink, or lie, to the American people, so that they could go to war in Iraq. Of course that whole process took advantage of the Congress, and the American people, and the American media," Gravel said.
Lewis Libby Indicted, Resigns (Oct. 28, 2005)
Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-brief.
E-mail a comment or news tip to Melanie Hunter.
Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.