Libby indictment should prompt President Bush to change the White House culture

With the American public’s confidence in its leaders shaken by today’s indictment and continued investigations, it is crucial that President George Bush now exercise leadership and articulate the ethical values that are core to his Administration. Loyalty to the president, and a desire to withhold information that is critical to White House policies should not be the guiding stars for Administration conduct. Rather the President now must go out of his way to encourage an open White House, the free dissemination of information, and a culture that tolerates criticism.

The outing of Valerie Plame seems to have been part of an effort to discredit Administration critics. Its consequences have been tragic for all, including Mr. Libby. These efforts and the White House culture that supported them cannot afford to continue.

Common Cause approves of White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s decision to immediately step down from his position in the administration and remove himself from any involvement in decisions that affect our country. Individuals who work at the highest levels of our government cannot function effectively while under suspicion of criminal activity.