THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

US court won't bring back suit over leak

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press / August 13, 2008

WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court said yesterday it would not resurrect a lawsuit that former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson brought against members of the Bush administration.

Plame Wilson accused Vice President Dick Cheney and several former high-ranking administration officials of revealing her identity to reporters in 2003. She and her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, say that violated their constitutional rights.

It was an unusual case and even some on Plame Wilson's legal team acknowledged the case was an uphill fight from the start.

A federal judge dismissed the case last year and the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld that ruling yesterday.

The appeals court said there was no constitutional basis for the court to step in and it declined to create one. The judges said Plame Wilson and her husband could bring their case under the Privacy Act, though it does not cover the president or vice president's offices. The court also said it must be reluctant to wade into national security issues.

Melanie Sloan, Plame Wilson's attorney at the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Plame Wilson was considering an appeal.

"It is simply unacceptable for top government officials to be unaccountable for such a gross abuse of their power," Sloan said.

The lawsuit named former presidential adviser Karl Rove; Cheney's former top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby; and former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage.

The Justice Department declined to comment.

Nobody was ever charged with the leak itself.

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