Congressional Record: October 22, 2003 (Senate)
Page S12993-S12994


  Mr. HARKIN. Mr. President, more than 83 days have passed since the 
Central Intelligence Agency filed a report and inquiry to the FBI in 
July regarding a leak by senior administration officials of an 
undercover CIA agent. This investigation was originally stymied by 
foot-dragging and delay and has continued to be stymied by foot-
dragging and delay.
  It took at least 53 days for the Justice Department to officially 
launch an investigation. It took 4 days after that for Justice to 
officially notify the White House about the investigation and tell them 
to preserve any and all materials related to it.
  More recently, the investigation has been stymied by kind of a 
``don't ask, don't tell'' approach by the President and by the 
appearance of a conflict of interest by the Attorney General. Attorney 
General Ashcroft, a good friend of the Bush administration and its 
senior advisers, a very partisan Republican for most of his life, is 
still overseeing the investigation. In fact, one of his top aides said 
yesterday that Ashcroft has been regularly briefed on key details in 
the investigation, including the identities of those being questioned 
by the FBI.
  Talk about a chilling effect. President Bush has joked and made light 
about it.
  I would like to bring to the attention of Senators an article by 
Knight Ridder, published in the newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal 
Sentinel on Sunday. The headline was ``CIA Leak May Have Caused More 
Damage. Work of Others Using Front Company Name May Be at Risk.'' This 
revealed why this leak is no laughing matter; it is a deadly serious 
matter of national security. This is what the article said:

       Training agents . . . costs millions of dollars and 
     requires the time-consuming establishment of elaborate 
     fictions, called ``legends,'' including in this case the 
     creation of a CIA front company that helped lend plausibility 
     to her trips overseas. . . . Compounding the damage, the 
     front company, Brewster-Jennings & Associates . . . 
     apparently was also used by other CIA officers whose works 
     could now be at risk, according to Vince Cannistraro, former 
     CIA chief of counterterrorism operations and analysis. . . . 
     Now, [Valerie] Plame's career as a covert operations officer 
     in the CIA's Directorate of Operations is over. Those she 
     dealt with--on business or not--may be in danger . . . and 
     Plame's exposure may make it harder for American spies to 
     persuade foreigners to share important secrets with them, 
     U.S. intelligence officials said.

  Other former CIA officials agree--including Larry Johnson, a former 
classmate of Plame's and former CIA and State Department official. He 
predicted that when the internal damage assessment is finished:

       . . . at the end of the day, the [harm] will be huge and 
     some people potentially may have lost their lives.

  Another former CIA officer, Jim Marcinkowski said:

       This is not just another leak. This is a unprecedented 
     exposing of an agent's identity.

  So, again, this is no laughing matter. The President should not treat 
it as such.
  Here are some quotes from some in his own administration. Attorney 
General Ashcroft said:

       Leaks of classified information do substantial damage to 
     the security interests of the nation.

  Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld earlier this year, March--February of 
this year:

       I think leaks are disgraceful, they are unprofessional, 
     they are dangerous. They put people's lives at risk.

  Ari Fleischer, White House spokesman, in June:

       The President does have very deep concerns about anything 
     that would be inappropriately leaked that could in any way 
     endanger America's ability to gather intelligence 

  From his own administration, people say how bad it is to have these 
kinds of leaks to endanger national security.
  Let me give a quick recap of the timeline. It started with the 
President's deception in his State of the Union Address in January. In 
his remarks, Mr. Bush stated Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. A 
few months later, in July, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's op-ed 
appears in the New York Times, questioning the President's assertion.
  Then in order to discredit Wilson and ``seek revenge'' on Wilson, 
senior administration officials leaked to the press the identity of 
Wilson's wife and the fact she was a CIA operative, thereby 
undercutting our national security and clearly violating Federal law.
  This happened in early July. Let's see what happened since.
  On July 24, Senator Schumer calls on the FBI Director to open a 
criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative based on that 
  In late July, the FBI notified Senator Schumer that they had done an 
inquiry into the CIA.
  Then it appears nothing happened for 2 months.
  On September 23, the Attorney General says he and CIA Director Tenet 
sent a memo to the FBI requesting an investigation.
  On September 26, the Department of Justice officially launches its 
  Interestingly, it took 4 days after that ``official'' launch for the 
Justice Department to call White House Counsel Gonzales and notify him 
of the official investigation. Gonzalez then asked for an extra day 
before the Justice Department gave the White House the official notice, 
which means all documents and records must be preserved.
  A recent letter was sent to the President from Senators Daschle, 
Schumer, Levin, and Biden which also expresses concern about this break 
from regular procedure.
  They wrote:

       Every former prosecutor with whom we have spoken has said 
     that the first step in such an investigation would be to 
     ensure all potentially relevant evidence is preserved, yet 
     the Justice Department waited four days before making a 
     formal request for documents.

  Interestingly, the letter goes on:

       When the Justice Department finally asked the White House 
     to order employees to preserve documents, White House Counsel 
     Alberto Gonzales asked for permission to delay transmitting 
     the order to preserve evidence until morning. The request for 
     a delay was granted. Again, every former prosecutor with whom 
     we have spoken has said that such a delay is a significant 
     departure from standard practice.

  That is what has been happening--departure from standard practice.
  I am also troubled that the White House Counsel's Office is serving 

[[Page S12994]]

``gatekeeper'' for all the documents the Justice Department has 
requested from the White House. Mr. Gonzales' office said he would not 
rule out seeking to withhold documents under a claim of executive 
privilege or national security.
  What kind of a zoo is this outfit?
  Mr. Gonzales says he can withhold these documents from this 
investigation on the basis of national security.
  Wait a minute. It is our national security that has been breached by 
this leak. Now we are going to have an invocation of protecting 
national security to protect who leaked it, I guess.
  I believe this matter could have been resolved very quickly. 
President Bush could have called his senior staff members into the Oval 
Office and asked them one by one if they were involved. He could have 
them sign a document stating they were not involved in this leak. He 
could have each of them sign a release to any reporter to release 
anything they have ever said to a reporter thereby exempting the 
  There has been coverup after coverup after coverup on this CIA leak, 
and it is not going to go away. People of America will demand that we 
get to the bottom of it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.


Congressional Record: October 22, 2003 (Senate)
Page S12994


  Mr. CHAMBLISS. Mr. President, as I sat here and listened to my friend 
from Iowa once again bring up an issue to which we are all very 
sensitive, I can't help but respond that I have an entirely different 
outlook and opinion about what is going on with respect to this issue. 
Those of us who have been involved in the intelligence community, and 
as a member of the Intelligence Committee, I, too, am somewhat outraged 
that we have the so-called ``leak'' or disclosure of a CIA individual 
that occurred not too long ago. We have a process whereby this is to be 
handled. That process is working the way the process is designed to 
  The White House was outraged about this, and the White House is 
moving very favorably and very aggressively towards resolving this 
issue. They are going to resolve the issue. The Justice Department is 
moving independent of the White House to get to the bottom of this. At 
some point in time a report is going to be made back to the Congress 
and to the American people, and we will find out what did happen.
  Again, there is a process to be followed under law. That process is 
going to allow us to get to the bottom of this in the way it should be. 
We don't need to be here banging political heads against the wall when 
the legal heads are the ones that need to be banged against the wall, 
and that is taking place.