Congress should launch a full investigation of Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in leaking the name of an undercover CIA officer, Valerie Plame Wilson, to the media in violation of federal law.

That conclusion follows from the guilty verdict rendered March 6 against Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Wilson affair.

The trial laid bare Cheney’s ringleader role in the “outing” of Wilson after her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, exposed a lie in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech, a lie that helped sell the Iraq war.

Voluminous evidence, including Cheney’s handwritten notes and Libby’s taped testimony to a grand jury, incriminate Cheney in a deliberate campaign to discredit Joe Wilson and intimidate others who might expose the administration’s twisting of intelligence. Kenneth Adelman, a friend of Libby and Cheney, told The New York Times, “It was clear that what Scooter was doing in the Wilson case was at Dick’s behest.”

This past week, investigations of Bush-Cheney reached floodtide with the probe of scandalous outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, federal attorneys testifying they were fired for refusing to play ball with dirty Republican politics, and other probes unfolding. Meanwhile nine more U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

The Libby trial addressed only tangentially the larger issue raised by the case: that the president and vice president lied to drag us into war. Congress should pick up where this trial left off. Cheney should be subpoened to testify not only about this case, but also about the lies he peddled to justify this atrocious war.

In 30 Vermont town meetings, resolutions were approved urging the House to investigate charges that Bush and Cheney deliberately misled the country into war, condoned torture of prisoners and approved illegal electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens, “and if the investigation supports the charges, vote to impeach” Cheney and Bush.

It’s an indication of the disquiet across our country over this administration’s trampling on the rule of law. Congress needs to pursue this trail of criminality to wherever the buck stops.

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