WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George Bush Thursday said it's time to forget about the leaking of a CIA operative's name and move on.
During a White House news conference, Bush sidestepped a question over whether he was disappointed in the way the issue was handled by his senior advisers.
Former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of lying to investigators looking to who leaked Valerie Plame's identity to columnist Robert Novak. Earlier this month, Bush commuted Libby's sentence, eliminating 30 months jail time but leaving intact a $250,000 fine and two-year probationary period. No one was charged with the leak but Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has admitted he let Plame's name slip.
Bush called his decision to grant clemency "fair and balanced."
"I haven't spent a lot of time talking about the testimony that people throughout my administration were forced to give as a result of the special prosecutor," Bush said. "I didn't ask them during the time and I haven't asked them since.
"I'm aware of the fact that perhaps somebody in the administration did disclose the name of that person and I've often thought about what would have happened had that person come forth and said, 'I did it.'
"Would we have had this, you know, endless hours of investigation and a lot of money being spent on this matter? But it's been a tough issue for a lot of people in the White House and it's run its course and now we're going to move on."
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