WASHINGTON -- Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald should investigate Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the CIA leak probe if they authorized an aide to give secret information to reporters, Democratic and Republican senators said yesterday.
Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island, called the leak of intelligence information ''inappropriate" if it is true that unnamed ''superiors" instructed Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, to divulge the material on Iraq.
Senator George Allen, Republican of Virginia, said a full investigation is necessary.
''I don't think anybody should be releasing classified information, period, whether in the Congress, executive branch or some underling in some bureaucracy," said Allen, who appeared with Reed on ''Fox News Sunday."
According to court documents disclosed last week, Libby told a federal grand jury that he disclosed in July 2003 the contents of a classified National Intelligence Estimate as part of the Bush administration's defense of intelligence used to justify invading Iraq.
Fitzgerald said in the documents it was his understanding that ''Mr. Libby testified that he was authorized to disclose information about the NIE to the press by his superiors." The White House has refused to comment on the case.
''I think this calls into question in terms of Fitzgerald's investigation of the conduct of the vice president and others," Reed said. ''I think he has to look closely at their behavior."
Allen expressed confidence in Fitzgerald, whom he called ''a very articulate, professional prosecutor." ''And I think the facts will lead wherever they lead, and I think he will prosecute as appropriate," he said.
Libby, 55, was indicted on charges that he lied to FBI agents and the grand jury about how he learned CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity and when he told reporters. He is not charged with leaking classified information.