Congressional Record: July 16, 2004 (Senate)
Page S8271-S8273                       

                           LEAK INVESTIGATION

  Mr. HARKIN. Madam President, I have taken the last several days on a 
daily basis to come to the Senate floor to talk about the treacherous 
and damaging leak of the identity of a covert CIA operative by the name 
of Valerie Plame, leaked to a columnist by the

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name of Robert Novak, reportedly by high-ranking White House officials. 
I spoke a number of times last year when the events occurred. I spoke 
about it before a special prosecutor was assigned to investigate. After 
that special prosecutor was assigned, I did not say much more because I 
believed things would take their course, the special prosecutor would 
do his job, and we would get to the bottom of this.
  July 14 marked 1 year, and this being July 16, it is now 1 year and 2 
days since we first learned of the exposing or the outing of Valerie 
Plame as a covert CIA operative.
  That was the date 1 year ago when this columnist, Robert Novak, 
publicly exposed Ms. Plame. This was done in an act of political 
retribution because her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, 
published a column in the New York Times that questioned one of the key 
administration justifications for the war in Iraq; namely, that Iraq 
sought to buy yellow cake uranium ore from Niger.
  Sadly, Republicans are still at it. They are fixated on Mr. Wilson. 
They are intent upon destroying his credibility. In columns and 
editorials and floor statements, the smear campaign continues. Their 
reason is they want to deflect and distract from the fact someone in 
the White House--high ranking--appears to have committed a crime, a 
treacherous crime.
  I am not here to defend or criticize Joe Wilson. I have tried to 
follow the debate over his findings and statements and all that. 
Obviously, we are all concerned about finding out the facts about 
whether Saddam Hussein's government did try to obtain yellow cake 
uranium ore from Africa, the country of Niger, in the 1990s. That is a 
question of importance. But none of that has anything to do with the 
way we judge an illegal White House action that was used to undermine 
and endanger human intelligence resources, and was done only to 
disparage Mr. Wilson.
  Here is the statute, and it is clear, 50 U.S.C., section 421. It 

       Any person who has access to classified information that 
     identifies a covert agent and intentionally discloses that 
     information to an unauthorized person, knowing that the 
     Government is seeking to keep the agent's identity concealed, 
     shall be fined under Title 18 or imprisoned not more than 10 
     years, or both.

  Robert Novak said it in his column. He said it was high-ranking White 
House officials who gave him the information. We know that one or two 
high-ranking White House officials called, I think, up to six reporters 
to give them that information. Interestingly enough, it was only Mr. 
Novak who published this in a column.
  Mr. Novak has been around this town a long time. He also had to know 
this was a violation of law to come out with the name of a covert CIA 
agent. Yet Mr. Novak put that name in his column. Shame on Mr. Novak. I 
am not certain that it is totally unclear as to whether he could also 
be prosecuted under the same provisions of law, 50 U.S.C., section 421. 
He also identified a covert agent.
  Now, under the law, there is no exception for cases where a spouse of 
the agent has questioned administration policy. It doesn't say in the 
law that a person could be fined under title 18 or imprisoned for not 
more than 10 years, or both, unless the spouse of the agent questioned 
the administration policy. It doesn't say that in the law.
  I understand the ongoing investigation by prosecutor Fitzgerald has 
been somewhat thorough. However, I have repeatedly criticized the 
President and Vice President for refusing to settle the matter quickly, 
which they could have done a year ago. Again, I am calling for the 
special prosecutor to put the President and the Vice President under 
oath--put them under oath and film it.
  This is what they did to President Clinton. The special prosecutor 
put him under oath and filmed it. We sat here in the Senate and watched 
it. That had to do with actually something, I guess, that wasn't even a 
crime. It may have been immoral, but it wasn't a crime--certain 
indiscretions committed by the President in the White House.

  What are we talking about here? We are talking about the exposure of 
the identity of a covert CIA agent, destroying her credibility, putting 
at risk all of her contacts and people she had worked with around the 
world. And, as we have learned from other retired CIA agents, this also 
puts a cloud over all other covert CIA operatives who may think that 
sometime in the future they too could be outed. What about all of their 
contacts who may think that, well, gee, I know someone who was giving 
information to Ms. Plame. Now, they may know that person was giving 
information, and I may have another contact. Well, I guess I better not 
get involved in that because they may out my source or my contact, 
  I cannot emphasize enough the seriousness of this crime. Yet the 
President treated it rather cavalierly when he was asked about it. He 
said: You know, there are leaks all over the White House. It is a big 
administration. We may never find out who did it. And he smiled, as if 
this was not a big deal. It is a very big deal. Someone in the White 
House--to this Senator's thinking--committed treason. The number of 
people in the White House with access to this kind of information can 
be counted on one hand--OK, maybe two hands. Maybe there are 10 people. 
But what the President should have done was call them into his office, 
have them sign a piece of paper that they did not do this, put them 
under oath.
  The President could have solved this in 24 hours. Yet he sort of 
dismissed it out of hand, as though it was not a big deal.
  Well, that is why I think the President and the Vice President must 
be put under oath and asked about this. Perhaps they do know. Perhaps 
the President does know who leaked this information and is just 
covering it up. Perhaps the Vice President also knows and he is just 
covering it up.
  You have to look at what happened and how this whole thing 
progressed, and why the administration obviously is trying to deflect 
this onto Mr. Wilson and others, because the chronology of events shows 
that the administration clearly knew these claims were not real. So you 
have to look at the chronology.
  Let me summarize it and then I will go through it. Even after CIA 
Director Tenet told the White House not to use this information in a 
speech, and even after the State Department later came out and said 
that some of these documents were forgeries, even after the same 
individual who had talked to Director Tenet in October and had taken 
the words out of the speech--that same individual put those words back 
in the President's State of the Union Message 3 months later. Curious, 
very curious.
  By the fall of 2002--let me put it more succinctly. In October of 
2002, the White House sought to include the claim that Iraq had tried 
to buy uranium from Africa in a policy speech by the President in 
  What did the CIA do? Here is the chronology. In February 2002, Joseph 
Wilson travels to Niger to find out whether Iraq had attempted to buy 
uranium ore. On October 5, 2002, after the President indicated he was 
going to give a speech in Cincinnati and these claims were in the 
speech, the CIA sends a memo to the National Security Council concerned 
about these uranium claims in the Cincinnati speech. That is October 5.
  They must have clearly felt they were not being taken seriously, 
because the following day a second memo was sent that urged that the 
information be deleted because the evidence was weak and the CIA had 
told Congress that ``the Africa story was overblown, and this is one of 
the two issues where we differed with the British.''
  They must have been still pretty seriously concerned because CIA 
Director Tenet personally calls Deputy National Security Adviser 
Stephen Hadley. He personally called him.
  Get this, they send a memo on the 5th, they send a memo on the 6th, 
and the Director himself calls on the 6th. So obviously they were very 
concerned about it. Guess what. Mr. Stephen Hadley--keep that name in 
mind--Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley takes the claims 
out of the speech the President gives in Cincinnati.
  Then on October 16, the State Department gets copies of uranium 
purchase documents and forwards them to the CIA. I am told this came 
from the Italians. I don't know if that is right or not, but that is 
what I was told. This is what they claim were forgeries. This is what 
our State Department analyst

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tells the CIA later on, that the documents are likely forgeries.
  On January 13, 2 weeks before the State of the Union, a State 
Department analyst sent an e-mail to the CIA about the documents, 
outlining his reasons why the uranium purchase agreement is probably a 
hoax. This is a State Department analyst who sends an e-mail to the CIA 
saying these are probably a hoax, forgeries.
  So between the Cincinnati speech in October and the State of the 
Union speech in January, there is even more reason to doubt the 
credibility of these uranium purchase claims. Nonetheless, these 
mysterious 16 words--``The British Government has learned that Saddam 
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from 
Africa''--were left in the State of the Union speech.
  Here is where we come full circle. Who is the individual responsible 
for vetting national security issues before the State of the Union 
speech? Mr. Stephen Hadley oversees the State of the Union speech. Mr. 
Hadley was vetting national security concerns.
  Let's loop back. It was Mr. Hadley who talked to Director Tenet in 
October and who got these memos saying these claims were not real. 
Stephen Hadley in October took them out of the Cincinnati speech. Mr. 
Hadley in January leaves them in the State of the Union speech. It is 
the same individual. He could not have forgotten this. He had to have 
known this.
  Why, I ask, was this left in the State of the Union Message? Was it 
left in to help the President make his case for an invasion of Iraq? 
After being told it was dubious by the CIA Director himself, after the 
State Department said these were probably forgeries, the issue is, Why 
the White House still has not been held accountable for breaking the 
law and betraying the intelligence community by exposing Valerie Plame, 
all done in an attempt to discredit her husband Joseph Wilson and his 
criticism of the uranium claim.

  The President says he did not know anything about it. Ken Lay of 
Enron last week claimed he did not know anything about what was going 
on in his company, either. He is the CEO, and what is his defense? ``I 
didn't know it was going on.'' Either the CEO of a corporation knows 
what is going on and he is not being truthful or he did not know 
anything about it. Either way, it is inexcusable. If the President of 
the United States says he did not know anything about it, that is 
inexcusable. If the President did know about it and left that claim in 
his State of the Union Message, that is inexcusable. Either way, the 
buck stops on President Bush's desk. It is time to quit passing the 
buck. It is time for the American people to learn who committed these 
crimes and to have these people prosecuted.
  What is going to happen in the future if this is swept under the rug? 
Does that mean some other administration, the next one, whatever it may 
be, Democratic or Republican, that a President or his people under him 
in the White House can break the law and not be held accountable?
  Again, I take you back several years to when President Clinton was 
put under oath and filmed. We watched it right here on the Senate floor 
during the impeachment proceedings. Regardless of how one may have felt 
about that, it sent a very powerful message to the American people: No 
President is above the law; no President is above the law, neither Mr. 
Clinton nor Mr. Bush.
  So I ask, Why hasn't President Bush, why hasn't Vice President Cheney 
been put under oath and asked these questions under oath? Again we will 
let the American people know that no President is above the law and no 
one who works for a President is above the law.
  This is serious business. I see that in a column by Mr. Novak of July 
15--Mr. Novak's whole column is about Joe Wilson--he said:

       It's as though the Niger question and Joe Wilson have 
     vanished from the Earth.

  No, they have not, Mr. Novak; no, they have not. But Mr. Novak is all 
on whether Mr. Wilson was telling the truth, whether he was 
misinterpreted, whether his wife recommended that he be sent to Niger. 
Nowhere is it claimed Ms. Plame was in a position of authority to 
actually send him to Niger, but Mr. Novak goes on about how a State 
Department analyst told the committee about an interagency meeting in 
2002 by Wilson's wife who had recommended that he go there because he 
had contacts there.
  What does all this mean? It means what Mr. Novak is trying to do is 
to take the focus off of a clear violation of the law by individuals in 
the White House in exposing a covert agent's identity; take it off that 
and focus it on all this stuff about whether she recommended her 
husband, or whether her husband gave an honest analysis. I am sorry, 
Mr. Novak, that is not the issue. The issue is, someone in the White 
House broke the law, clearly, unequivocally. The point is, the 
President of the United States has expressed not one iota of outrage. 
The point is, the President and the Vice President, neither one, have 
sought to get to the bottom of this. Neither the President nor the Vice 
President have been put under oath to be questioned about this.
  The point is, Mr. Novak, a year and 2 days have passed, and this 
lawbreaking activity in the White House has not been dealt with. No one 
is saying Ms. Plame broke any law, violated any ethics. No one is 
claiming Mr. Wilson broke any law or violated any ethics. You can say 
they may have made a mistake, he may have been wrong, he may have been 
wrong in his analysis--fine. I am not saying he was right or wrong. I 
don't know. What I do know is, two individuals in the White House broke 
the law--to my way of thinking, basically committed treason--and no one 
is getting to the bottom of it. And Mr. Novak continues to try to 
deflect the attention from that, to try to talk about whether Mr. 
Wilson was right in his analysis.
  That is not the point. You can debate that issue if you want. What is 
not debatable is that someone in the White House broke the law, and 
they should be held accountable.
  As I took the floor yesterday and the day before and the day before, 
I take the floor today, and I will every day that we are in session, to 
ask that simple question: Why isn't the President coming clean? Why 
isn't he getting to the bottom of this? Why, 1 year and 2 days later, 
has nothing happened in the White House to find the identity of these 
lawbreakers? The sooner we get to the bottom of it, the sooner we can 
allow the criminal justice system to do its job.
  I call upon the President and the Vice President to get to the bottom 
of this. I call upon the special prosecutor to put them under oath and 
to ask them these questions. That may be the only way we get to the 
bottom of it.
  I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cornyn). Without objection, it is so