Democratic Leaders to Speaker Hastert: Congress Must Investigate Leak of CIA Agent’s Identity

For Immediate Release:

July 15, 2005

Contact:

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Menendez, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman James E. Clyburn sent a letter to Speaker Dennis Hastert today calling on him to direct House committees to immediately schedule hearings into the White House's involvement in leaking the identity of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame.

The text of the letter follows:

                
July 15, 2005
The Honorable J. Dennis Hastert
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Recent revelations that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was involved in the disclosure of classified information regarding the identity of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame raise serious questions that we believe the House of Representatives has a duty to investigate.

It has been two years since Ms. Plame’s status as a clandestine service officer was revealed in a Robert Novak column.  For obvious reasons dealing with the safety of covert agents and their network of sources, unauthorized disclosures of the identities of CIA agents are among the most serious of national security breaches. This fact alone should have spurred House committees into action and hearings should have been convened to take testimony under oath.

If that had been done, and if appropriate sanctions had been placed on those identified as having acted wrongly, the American people could have been assured that anyone who disclosed classified information was no longer in the employ of the federal government.  Regrettably, none of that happened.

We urge you to direct that committees with jurisdiction over the Plame matter schedule hearings immediately.  In previous Republican Congresses the fact that a criminal investigation was underway did not prevent extensive hearings from being held on other, much less significant matters.

The House has neglected its oversight responsibilities on many crucial issues related to the war in Iraq, including the justification for going into war, the lack of proper equipment for our troops, and the abuses at Abu Ghraib.  The list goes on.  We cannot continue to be derelict on the Plame matter as well.

The American people deserve the truth about who in the White House recklessly endangered our national security by disclosing classified information.  We want to work with you to restore the reputation of the House for vigorous oversight of activities in the executive branch and, especially given the revelations about Mr. Rove, believe the disclosure of Ms. Plame’s CIA status is an excellent place to start.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.  We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader                               
                                             
Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip
          
Robert Menendez, House Democratic Caucus Chairman                                          
        
James E. Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman
                                             

   

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