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Cheney names Libby's replacements

White House resists call for further changes in administration




Joe Wilson
Dick Cheney
Karl Rove
Lewis "Scooter" Libby

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney named two of his top staffer members Monday to replace I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned last week after being indicted in the CIA leak investigation.

The White House, meanwhile, resisted calls for further staff changes in the administration.

Libby is expected to plead not guilty Thursday morning when he is arraigned before federal Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements.

Cheney picked David Addington to serve as his chief of staff and John Hannah to take over Libby's duties as assistant to the vice president for national security affairs.

Addington, who had been Cheney's general counsel, was the author of the so-called "torture memo" of January 2002. The memo, signed by then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales -- now the U.S. attorney general -- claimed the Geneva Conventions on torture did not apply in the "war on terrorism."

Before becoming Cheney's counsel, Addington served at the CIA, the Defense Department, the White House and four congressional committees.

Hannah has served on Cheney's national security staff since March 2001 and has been principal deputy assistant for national security affairs. Before joining Cheney's staff, he worked in the State Department.

A federal grand jury indicted Libby on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury in a probe of the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to the press. (Full Story)

If convicted on all counts, Libby could be sentenced to a maximum of 30 years in prison and fined up to $1.25 million.

Libby issued a statement he is "confident that at the end of this process I will be completely and totally exonerated."

Plame is the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a retired career diplomat with expertise in African affairs who contends her name was leaked as political retribution for his criticism of the administration.

The CIA sent Wilson to Niger in February 2002 to investigate claims that then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from the African nation to use in Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program.

In a July 2003 op-ed piece for The New York Times, Wilson raised questions about the administration's claims about the supposed uranium purchase.

"It was highly doubtful that any such transaction had ever taken place," Wilson wrote.

A week later, conservative columnist Robert Novak, who also is a CNN contributor, wrote a piece that resulted in the two-year investigation, led by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald.

In that piece, Novak noted that Wilson "never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction."

Wilson: Fire Rove

Some lawmakers have called for a staff shakeup at the White House, with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid urging President Bush to dismiss his deputy chief of staff and top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Wilson echoed that call Monday in a CNN interview. "Karl Rove should be fired," he said. "This idea that you can, with impunity, call journalists and leak national security information is repugnant." (Full story)

Rove is widely believed to be "official A" named in the indictment.

The indictment said Libby -- before discussing Wilson and Plame with reporters -- talked about the couple with several people in the White House, including Cheney and "official A."

The indictment said "official A" had discussed Plame and Wilson with Novak before he wrote his column.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said "there's no discussion of staff changes beyond the usual vacancies that occur."

"We don't want to do anything from here that could prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial," he said.

He added, "It's always the president's prerogative to have a team in place that will help him meet his needs."

In a White House appearance with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, President Bush did not respond to reporters' questions about calls for a shakeup.

McClellan accused those calling for changes of "presuming things and trying to politicize the process."

But even Republicans lawmakers -- including Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi on "Fox News Sunday" -- have been among those expressing support for "new blood."

One Bush adviser told CNN the president was disappointed in his staff for missteps, and aides said he will likely make significant changes before year's end.

CNN's Paul Courson contributed to this report.

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