October 01, 2003

Senator Lautenberg Calls On White House to Take 'Every Step Necessary' to Ensure Thorough Investigation of Possible Leaks of Classified Information

Here we go. "Out, out damn spot!!!!"

Sen. Frank Lautenberg:"This is not just an outrage; it also appears to be a crime. It must be investigated immediately and independently," said Senator Lautenberg. "This type of reckless retribution for disagreeing with the Bush Administration could have put American intelligence agents at risk."

http://lautenberg.senate.gov/~lautenberg/press/2003/01/2003930C10.html

September 30, 2003
Senator Lautenberg Calls On White House to Take 'Every Step Necessary' to Ensure Thorough Investigation of Possible Leaks of Classified Information
WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, United States Senator Frank
R. Lautenberg, along with eight of his colleagues on
the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee sent a
letter to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card calling
for the Bush Administration to 'take every step
necessary' to preserve evidence that might be relevant
to the investigation into allegations a White House
employee disclosed the name of a covert CIA agent.

Our government has no greater responsibility than to
protect and advance our national security, and the
people who work for our government have no greater
obligation than to protect and defend those spending
and risking their lives for our national security. Yet
it now appears that one or more high level Bush
Administration officials took it upon themselves to
act contrary to that responsibility and that
obligation, wrote Lautenberg and several of his
colleagues in a letter to WH Chief of Staff Andy Card.

"This is not just an outrage; it also appears to be a
crime. It must be investigated immediately and
independently," said Senator Lautenberg. "This type of
reckless retribution for disagreeing with the Bush
Administration could have put American intelligence
agents at risk."

The letter sent to Mr. Card is attached to the
release.

September 30, 2003

Andrew H. Card Jr. Chief of Staff The White House 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Card:

We are writing to ask for your immediate and public
assurance that the White House is taking every step
necessary to preserve relevant evidence and ensure the
full cooperation of White House personnel in the
investigation into the apparently illegal disclosure
of a covert CIA operative's identity.

Our government has no greater responsibility than to
protect and advance our national security, and the
people who work for our government have no greater
obligation than to protect and defend those spending
and risking their lives for our national security. Yet
it now appears that one or more high level Bush
Administration officials took it upon themselves to
act contrary to that responsibility and that
obligation. In an apparent reaction to Ambassador
Joseph C. Wilson's credible allegations about the
Administration's manipulation of intelligence
information, some high level Bush Administration
officials reportedly decided to identify the
Ambassador's wife as a covert government operative.
This action potentially endangered not just her, but
the many people who may have associated with her and
provided help to the United States. When people abroad
worked with Ambassador Wilson's wife to aid our
national security, many knew that they risked much to
do so. But they undoubtedly never would have thought
that the risks include the possibility that a high
level Bush Administration appointee would
intentionally put into the press information that
would jeopardize their safety or their lives. Those
individuals trusted our government, and someone in our
government apparently breached that trust.

This is not just an outrage; it also appears to be a
crime. It must be investigated immediately and
independently. Indeed, the Justice Department
reportedly informed you last night that it believes
the allegations to be serious enough to warrant a full
blown investigation. We strongly believe that such an
investigation should be led by a non-partisan,
independent special counsel, and not by this
Administration's political appointees. But whoever
conducts the investigation must receive the full
cooperation of the White House. We therefore call upon
you to do everything in your power to ensure that
whoever ends up investigating this manner has the
White House's full cooperation and to inform the
public of the steps you intend to take to ensure this
cooperation.

We understand that this morning, White House counsel
Alberto R. Gonzales told White House staff: "You must
preserve all materials that might in any way be
related to the department's investigation." It is
unclear from press reports whether this was the
totality of Judge Gonzales' direction. If it was, we
believe that much more is warranted to make absolutely
clear to White House staff what is expected of them.
Any breach that occurred was of the utmost
seriousness, and the White House must do all it can to
ensure that those responsible do not seek to coverup
their misdeeds. In short, we urge you to issue a much
more specific directive and to underscore the
seriousness with which any failure to comply will be
met. Specifically, we ask you to:

Direct all White House personnel to maintain all
records, phone logs, e-mails, correspondence and
anything else that may relate to these events. This
direction should make clear that it refers to both
government records and any purportedly personal
records generated, for example, by a personal e-mail
or telephone account. The direction also should
include a mandate to the White House's archivists and
information technology personnel to ensure that any
paper or electronic records dating to the relevant
time period will be maintained and are ready to be
turned over to the Justice Department or special
counsel, whichever ends up investigating this matter.

Make clear that anyone destroying or otherwise
tampering with these records will be immediately
dismissed.

Instruct all White House personnel to cooperate with
any request from those investigating the matter
whether that request be for interviews, government
documents or records or personal phone logs or email
accounts, and make clear that lack of cooperation will
be grounds for immediate dismissal.

Direct White House staff that they have an
affirmative obligation to communicate relevant
information to investigating authorities, including
the identity of persons involved in the decision to
disclose information about the Ambassador's wife.

Direct White House staff that, if asked to by
investigating authorities, they must absolve all those
they have been in contact with of any agreement to
keep conversations with them confidential, and make
clear that a failure by White House staff to do so
will result in immediate dismissal.

Immediately inform the public of whether you have
taken each of these steps or issued any other
directives related to this investigation.

We look forward to hearing your prompt answer to this
letter.

Signing the letter were Ranking Member Joe Lieberman,
D-Conn., Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Ranking Member Carl Levin, D-Mich., Financial
Management Subcommittee Ranking Member Daniel Akaka,
D-Hi., Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee
Ranking Member Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Committee
members Thomas Carper, D-Del., Mark Dayton, D-Minn.,
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Posted by richard at October 1, 2003 01:40 PM