Plame Wilson v. White House: Round 1
The showdown between the White House, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, a former covert operative for the CIA whose identity was unmasked by Bush administration officials, entered its first stage Tuesday.
As expected, Justice Department attorneys acting on behalf of Vice President Dick Cheney, White House Political Adviser Karl Rove, and other officials, filed a motion in federal court Tuesday seeking the dismissal of a civil lawsuit filed against them earlier this year by the Wilsons, claiming Cheney, his former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Rove, and other unnamed defendants conspired to destroy Valerie Wilson's career and violated Ambassador Wilson's civil rights.
The Justice Department contends in its motion that Rove, Cheney, in his capacity as vice president, and the other defendants are immune to civil lawsuits, citing a Supreme Court decision which held that executive branch officials should be able to perform their public duty without fear their motives may result in litigation.
"The United States has a strong interest in ensuring that federal officials are appropriately protected from personal liability in lawsuits arising as a result of their official positions," said the Justice Department in its motion filed Tuesday. "The United States believes that ... the individual federal defendants have valid claims of immunity. The vice president possesses absolute immunity from civil damages claims in connection with acts taken within the scope of his office." <more>