Congressional Record: September 29, 2003 (Senate)
Page S12130-S12131

                      BREACH OF NATIONAL SECURITY

  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, I remember when I was a young boy, right 
towards the end of World War II, and there was a famous sign I saw at 
the American Legion club in my small town in Iowa. The sign said, 
"Loose Lips Sink Ships."
  Later on when I went into the military and served in the military, I 
always remembered that, especially when it came to dealing with 
sensitive information, that we had to be very careful, very cautious 
about how we dealt with information which, if it got into the wrong 
hands, could be injurious to the United States of America.
  I mention that because if what I have been hearing and reading about 
in the news media is anywhere near the truth, then we have a very 
serious breach of national security emanating from the administration. 
This is no small matter, about the disclosure of the identity of a CIA 
agent, an undercover agent, the identity of whom could not only be 
harmful to that individual herself but to persons with whom she had 
contact and dealings in other countries.
  This July a noted columnist, Robert D. Novak, on July 14, disclosed a 
covert operative's identity. That is a violation of Federal law. I am 
not certain Mr. Novak knew that was a violation of Federal law. He 
should have. He has been in this business a long time. But he printed 
this disclosure. Where did he get the information? Mr. Novak said he 
got the information from two senior administration officials. The story 
goes on to say that:

       Yesterday, a senior administration official said that 
     before Novak's column ran, "two top White House officials 
     called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the 
     occupation of Wilson's wife [who is the undercover agent who 
     was disclosed by Mr. Novak]. "Clearly it was meant purely 
     and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the 
     alleged leak.

  What happens when a disclosure like this goes out is that if agents 
in the field are on pins and needles about whether they are going to be 
disclosed at some time, it is going to threaten our intelligence 
capabilities around the globe. And in fighting international terrorism, 
the most important thing we need is not the U.S. military, it is not 
bombers and missiles or a nuclear arsenal or nuclear submarines--in 
order to combat and beat international terrorism, what we need is good 
information. Intelligence--intelligence sharing with our allies. If our 
agents in the field--working undercover with the contacts, the kind of 
sources they need--if they believe their identity is going to be 
disclosed in a newspaper column, what does that say to them about how 
they can do their business? This threatens our intelligence-gathering 
  In fact, I can think of no single action that probably has done more 
to hurt our ability to fight international terrorism than this 
disclosure of this undercover agent's name. I say that because it is 
going to cast a cloud over those who risk their lives daily who are 
already out there gathering information to protect our country.
  You might ask: What precipitated this? Why was this leaked? Evidently 
it was leaked because this person's husband had revealed the truth 
about President Bush's deception in his State of the Union Message 
about Iraq trying to get uranium from Niger.
  This individual, Joseph C. Wilson, IV, former U.S. Ambassador, 
publicly challenged President Bush's claim that Iraq tried to buy 
"Yellow Cake" uranium from Africa for possible use in nuclear 
weapons. Because Mr. Wilson had such good credibility when he put this 
out, it raised questions about whether the President was being 
forthright in his State of the Union Message. That is why one senior 
official said that clearly it was meant purely and simply for revenge.
  We have the leaking of an undercover individual's name because her 
husband had revealed the truth about the deception in the State of the 
Union Message.
  I don't know who these two individuals are in the administration, nor 
how high up they are. Mr. Novak said they were two senior 
administration officials. Another senior administration official said 
two top White House officials. Who are they? I guess I would have to 
ask if President Bush is really serious about cooperating and finding 
out who it was that violated Federal law--a criminal activity 
punishable by up to 10 years, a felony. If the President is really 
serious, and he said he was here--Mr. McClellan, the President's press 
secretary, said it is a serious matter and it should be looked into.
  If the President is serious about cooperating and getting the truth 
out, ABC News "The Note" today posed these questions which I agree 
should be answered:
  Has President Bush made clear to White House staff that only total 
cooperation with the investigation will be tolerated? If the President 
has not done this, why hasn't he?
  Has the President insisted that every senior staff member sign a 
statement with legal authority that they are not the leaker and that 
they will identify to the White House legal counsel who is? If the 
President hasn't asked his staff to do that, why hasn't he?
  Has President Bush required that all of his staff sign a letter 
relinquishing journalists from protecting those two sources? If he 
hasn't, why hasn't he?
  Has President Bush said that those involved in this crime will be 
immediately fired? If he hasn't, why not?
  Has Mr. Albert Gonzalez distributed a letter to White House employees 
requiring them to preserve documents, logs, and records? It is very 
important. Has Albert Gonzalez distributed a letter to White House 
employees telling them to preserve documents, logs, and records? If he 
hasn't, why hasn't he?
  Has Mr. Andrew Card named someone on his staff to organize compliance 
with these? If he hasn't, why hasn't he?
  These are things the President has to do if he really and truly wants 
to cooperate, if he truly wants to get these two individuals 
identified, and if he truly wants to have them prosecuted to the 
fullest extent of the law, which they ought to be.
  This is not some obscure real estate deal out in the middle of 
nowhere. I repeat this is not some obscure real estate deal out in the 
middle of some wilderness area. This has to do with our fight against 
international terrorism and whether or not those who are charged with 
the responsibility of collecting and gathering intelligence for us will 
be protected and their identities protected. Or will we send a signal 
that they are fair game, that someone in the White House can leak their 
name, that some columnist will print it in the paper and identify them 
as an undercover agent for the CIA?
  This is serious business. The sooner the President of the United 
States gets

[[Page S12131]]

to the bottom of it and complies--and, yes, as soon as we have a 
special counsel, an independent counsel, not from the Justice 
Department but a special independent counsel needs to be appointed 
immediately to make sure that logs, records, and phone logs are not 
destroyed, that computer files are not erased, and to make sure that we 
find out who it was who did this to our intelligence communities. 
Nothing less than a special counsel with full investigative powers, 
with the full powers of subpoena, nothing less than that will suffice 
to clear this up and to assure the American people that the President 
and those close around him had nothing to do with this.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, will the Senator yield?
  Mr. HARKIN. I yield to my friend from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. I haven't heard all of the Senator's statement, but what I 
have heard leads me to believe after having read about this myself that 
whoever did this is a traitor. Whoever leaked this is someone who has 
subjected someone who is an undercover spy for this country to being 
murdered. I think that it even puts the columnist at risk, Bob Novak, 
who I like very much. I don't always agree with his politics, but he is 
a person who has always been very good to me.
  I am very happy that the Senator from Iowa has weighed in on this.
  I also acknowledge that something should be done. It is my 
understanding that the majority and the Democratic leader, the ranking 
member of the Foreign Relations Committee, the ranking member of the 
Defense Committee, and the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee 
have written a letter to the Attorney General and the President tonight 
calling for just what the Senator from Iowa has asked--that there be a 
special counsel selected to go into this. Some of the things that the 
special counsel went into during the last few years are minor compared 
to the gravity of this.
  I personally applaud and congratulate the Senator from Iowa for 
bringing this to the attention of the people of America.
  Mr. HARKIN. I thank my friend from Nevada. I am glad to hear that 
those individuals have sent a letter to the President and to the 
Attorney General. I hope our friends on the other side of the aisle 
will do the same. I hope the majority leader and the chairmen of those 
respective committees will do the same and ask for a special 
independent counsel.
  The word "traitor" is not misleading. It is not trying to blow this 
out of proportion. I think the Senator is absolutely right. Whoever 
leaked this and put not only this agent at risk--think about all of the 
contacts this agent had in other countries. Think about the chilling 
effect this puts on our intelligence gathering to combat international 
terrorism. The word "traitor" is certainly not going beyond the 
  I think the Senator is right. This is not some obscure little thing. 
This is not some obscure real estate deal out in the middle of nowhere. 
This affects the security and safety of our country.
  I don't know who did this. But they have to be punished.
  Mr. REID. Will the Senator yield for another brief comment?
  We have had some espionage people who have turned on us in recent 
years. They have had very high publicity. I think of the man in Kansas 
who turned and became a double agent, so to speak, which led to the 
deaths of American operatives in other countries.
  Is this any less than that? It is on the same plane. Whoever did that 
is certainly guilty of crimes--not punishable by death, perhaps, as 
Hanssen was subject to, but certainly punishable for many years in 
Federal prison. I appreciate the Senator bringing this to the attention 
of the American people through speaking in the Senate.
  Mr. HARKIN. I thank my friend.